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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 244..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

wanted to call it "climate catastrophe"but their language was moderated by the spin doctors. I prefer the less emotive term "climate crisis"even though that does not quite encapsulate the long lead time into the changes we will now inevitably undergo and the long time we will be experiencing a deteriorating environment, with inevitable ramifications for our society and our economy.

Last year the film An Inconvenient Truth brought the message to mainstream Australians with its graphs and picture of receding icebergs and melting icecaps. The images of polar bears struggling to hang onto ever-diminishing fragments of ice melting in the oceans were heartbreaking. The climate crisis is indeed a catastrophe, one that we now know sits squarely on the heads of the human race and, most particularly, those who consume more energy created by fossil fuels. Residents of Canberra have enjoyed our materially enriched lifestyles at the expense of our climate, in ignorance for the most part of our far-reaching impact.

We are also a population with a profound love of the natural beauty of our region and we are probably among the world's most frequent flyers, giving us a global consciousness and interest in the other peoples on the earth and increasing our greenhouse emissions. As an educated and relatively wealthy society we have the responsibility and the ability to act, and we must for the sake of our rivers, the woodlands, the grasslands, and the forests; for our towns and our cities; for our relatively peaceful societies; and for the many species who share this wonderful and unique earth with us.

Perhaps I will hear this morning that it does not make much sense for little Canberra to act because we are only a small fish in a very large sea, just as Howard says it does not make much sense for little Australia to sign the Kyoto protocol. Howard's line has lost traction with his electorate and it will not impress many Canberrans.

When I first proposed this motion I expected the ACT government to release its energy policy and its greenhouse strategy any day. We were then told that we would see it at the end of December, which was rather a strange time, and certainly it was in the dreams of the minister for the environment. We were then told that we would see it at the end of February but that deadline has also come and gone.

The only acceptable excuse for this lack of action could be that the strategy is being sharpened and strengthened. But I have been told that it is not even on the radar. Is this because the functional review led to the gutting of the Office of Sustainability? On behalf of Canberra, shame, Mr Speaker, shame. In any case, it is clear that this motion is still timely. It is the Greens' argument for putting teeth into the strategy when it is released. Following the recent storms and the super-cell storm last week in particular, it is a plea to broaden the strategy and to consider all the potential impacts of climate change, where events that occurred once in 100 years can occur with greater regularity.

The United States and Australia stand out for their refusal to join the rest of the developed world in signing or ratifying the Kyoto protocol. Labor federally has said that it will ratify it if it gets elected, but right now every state and territory has a Labor government, and there is an opportunity to take strong action without the federal imprimatur. In the United States 330 mayors have signed up their municipalities to this challenge. They have done so because their president will not act but their people


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