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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3225..


Mrs Dunne: Before you rule, Mr Speaker, I would like to add to that. When you made your ruling in May, which was subsequent to giving Dr Foskey the call on this motion, and, therefore, your ruling in May would supersede your ruling in March, the point that you made was that the Westminster practice was to defer these matters to the opposition executive. Therefore, even though you ruled in March to give Dr Foskey the call, my point and the point that you made in your own ruling in May, would be that that was not the practice and, therefore, today the opposition spokesman on environment should have the call on this matter.

MR SPEAKER: I refer you to the House of Representatives Practice, page 354:

For debate to be adjourned after the Minister's speech normally on a formal motion of a Member of the opposition executive ...

That is normally, but not always. I call Dr Foskey.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.15): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I hope we do not have to have this debate again on Thursday, because I believe that I was the only member around when the Murray-Darling Basin bill was presented. Consequently, I rose to my feet at that time as well and, no doubt, I will have the first call. I do not apologise for it; I am vitally interested in both these matters, and I appreciate the extra five minutes.

There is general consensus amongst scientists, governments, environment groups and the community that to avoid dangerous climate change we must attempt to keep warming below two degrees centigrade. We possibly have a decade, if we are lucky, to stabilise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point where we can do this.

We are already seeing climate change impacts at less than one degree of global temperature rise, which it is now generally accepted has occurred. So imagine another degree of temperature rise on top of that and then another degree on top of that. Of course, at this point it becomes impossible to know what the flow-on impacts of any one result of climate change will be, thus, the melting of the polar ice caps will have other run-on impacts that even best science is not able to predict.

CSIRO research shows that with even one degree centigrade rise, we will see a 70 per cent increase in droughts in New South Wales. Coral bleaching will devastate up to 97 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef each year with rises of two to three degrees centigrade. The number of people exposed to flooding doubles with increases of just one to two degrees centigrade. Australian snow cover will shrink by 10 to 40 per cent with just one degree centigrade rise in temperature.

When the ACT climate change strategy was finally released at the end of July this year, I was disappointed to find that the Chief Minister considers that the greenhouse gas abatement scheme—and he did say this—is the key plank in the strategy and the single most effective greenhouse gas abatement measure currently available to the territory. The strategy was generally a disappointment for people who want to see real and urgent action on climate change led by our government. Both the interim and long-term targets of reducing emissions to 2000 levels by 2025 and by 60 per cent by 2050 are profoundly inadequate. The only way we can limit the impact of climate


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