Papua New Guinea Parliament has unanimously passed the Climate Change (Management) Act 2015 establishing the legal framework and empowering the Government to enforce and collect tax revenue from carbon levies, nitrogen levies, and activities linked to carbon emissions.

Additionally, the Act enables the generation of non-tax revenue through fees and charges with an aim to make enhanced provisions for the administration of the Climate Change Development Authority (the Authority), the collection of certain climate levies, and the development of carbon markets in Papua New Guinea.

These amendments are intended to be read in conjunction with the prevailing provisions of the Act, and the Climate Change (Management) (Amendment) Act 2021 (the Amendment Act).

The Climate Change (Management) Act 2015 aims to provide a regulatory framework to –

a) promote and manage climate compatible development through climate change mitigation and adaptation activities;

(b) implement any relevant obligations of the State under applicable rules of international law and international agreements related to climate change; and

(c) establish Papua New Guinea’s Designated National Authority or an equivalent entity for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol and any such other or subsequent arrangements or agreements made under the Kyoto Protocol and for related purposes.

Presented to Parliament by Environment and Climate Change Minister Simon Kilepa with an 82-6 vote Wednesday, this landmark decision marks a decisive step towards combating climate change and transitioning to a sustainable future.

The Act currently establishes the Authority as a statutory body, and excludes the application of the Public Service (Management) Act 1997 (PSMA) and the Regulatory Statutory Authorities (Appointment to Certain Offices) Act 2004 (RSA).

“Given the nature of the Authority, the government mandate it implements, and the regulatory functions that it performs, the Act fails to provide a cohesive and clear administrative framework, which is reflective of the type of government institution (that is, a statutory authority),”Kilepa presented.

“By excluding the application of the RSA and PSMA, the Act has created administrative ambiguities in relation to appointment, the status and rights of employees, and other civil service employment-related matters.

“The Climate Change (Management) (Amendment) Bill 2023 will now address these uncertainties by bringing the administration of the Authority into conformity with the applicable laws governing statutory bodies, and by considering the RSA and PSMA frameworks and the structures adopted by similar institutions,” he said.