On Tuesday, the Australian senate passed legislation that will set a price on carbon and help meet its emissions targets.

The Australian government previously committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 (both below 2000 levels).

Following is a statement by Jennifer Morgan, Director of WRI's Climate and Energy Program:

“Australia has joined a growing list of countries taking national action to address climate change. This law is a major step forward for this large and coal-dependent nation, demonstrating its commitment to a low-carbon economy.

"Australia has set a fixed carbon price of $23 per ton, which will continue until July 2015. At that point, an emissions trading system with reduction caps will begin operating. In addition, Australia has created a new $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in renewable energy.

"While Australia's targets should eventually be strengthened, this is a solid down payment on its clean energy future.

"As countries prepare for climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, the passage of this legislation should provide a spark for those ready to move beyond talk and take action on climate change."

To read the legislation go here.

For more on Australia's national climate policy go here.