Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 816..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
should be congratulated for bringing this motion before the Assembly. There is no doubt, and I think we all accept it-most of us do-that issues of greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change are amongst the most important issues facing the globe, and indeed local communities and nations. I think it is fair to say that if people were stopped and asked, if there were a vox pop on the most important issues facing the world and the issue that most threatens the world, the majority of people, including Canberrans and Australians, would certainly answer, "Climate change."
Interestingly, I think that in the context of the nature of the national debate they would nominate climate change ahead of terrorism as an issue of greater significance for the world and the future of the world. I think that it is interesting and important in the context of the resources that we devote to each of those two major issues that the world is facing. Having said that, whether or not the current drought that we are facing is caused by climate change, I think it is a taste of what we can expect unless we all do our bit to tackle this problem of climate change.
Mr Smyth: You are a sceptic!
MR STANHOPE: I am not a climate change sceptic at all. I think the case has not been yet made that definitively allows us to conclude that this particular drought is a response to climate change. But certainly I think it is a harbinger of what we might expect as a result of climate change. Indeed, the internationally renowned economist Sir Nicholas Stern has suggested in his report that global warming could shrink the global economy by as much as 20 per cent. That is on top, of course, of the massive dislocation, human misery and change or damage to the environment that climate change would cause. But Stern also tells us that taking action now to address this urgent issue would cost just one per cent of the global gross domestic product, as against a possible 20 per cent loss or damage.
Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change handed down its fourth report, entitled Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In that report the IPCC finds that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and is evident in increases of global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and a rising global mean sea level; that at continental regional and ocean basin scales numerous long-term changes in climate change have been observed and carbon dioxide is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas and is growing at a larger rate during the last 10 years.
At this stage we are not sure what those opposite think about climate change. We know they contribute greatly to it, but are yet to enunciate a policy on tackling the problem. We know that the only source of policy the Liberals in this place have is the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister is actually a climate change denialist who has recently moved along the spectrum to become a climate change sceptic, he says, because he has taken-I think we all know this in our hearts-note of the opinion polls. As I say, while we do not know what the Liberals in this place think, because we have not yet seen a policy or any inkling of one from them, we know that Tony Blair, in reviewing the Stern review, said he believed that it had shown that the scientific evidence of global warming was overwhelming and its consequences disastrous.