The federal government is “very, very” confident its climate bill enshrining a 43 per cent emissions reduction target will pass the Senate.

The bill to lock in that target, based on 2005 levels by 2030, on the way to net zero emissions by 2050 passed the lower house on Thursday 89 votes to 55 with the support of the Greens and crossbench independent MPs.

It is headed to the Senate where it will first go to a committee inquiry, which will hear evidence on the proposal’s impacts.

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The committee is due to report back to parliament by the end of August before it goes to an upper house vote.

The government needs the support of the 12 Greens senators and one independent senator, likely David Pocock or Jacqui Lambie, to pass.

Climate Minister Chris Bowen said he has been talking to the senators crucial to the eventual vote.

“But I’m very, very confident it will pass the Senate. Very, very confident,” he told Nine Network on Sunday.

“Australians would expect a government of grown-ups to get on with the job and talk to people of goodwill to make sure that we have a good, solid climate bill.”

Opposition Nationals leader David Littleproud said while the coalition believed in reducing emissions, it did not believe legislation was needed to do that.

“Once you legislate, you open up the pathway for activists to weaponise it in the courts,” he told Nine.

“We’re committed to reaching that net zero by 2050 but there is no linear line and we have got to be honest with people about how we get there, and who pays for it.”

The coalition plans to update its reduction target beyond its commitment in government to a 26 to 28 per cent cut in emissions and is weighing up a policy to back nuclear power before the next election.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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