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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 615..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

climate change target of a 60 per cent reduction of 2000 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 come from?

MR STANHOPE: It comes, essentially, Dr Foskey, from the same place as the sorts of targets I have seen you and the Greens propound as appropriate. Dr Foskey, that is called leading with your chin. The ACT government, along with every other government in Australia and most of the Western world, has agreed on a first target of a 60 per cent reduction by 2050. It is consistent with what almost all of the European Union has done; it is consistent with what every other jurisdiction in Australia has done.

The point is well made, Dr Foskey, that Professor Garnaut is already suggesting in an interim report, on the basis of his preliminary investigations, that 60 per cent by 2050 at 2000 levels will not be sufficient. He also suggests that, on the basis of science and investigations, decisions will have to be made about where we are now so that we can make those decisions about what the appropriate target is. But have I seen, Dr Foskey, immediate responses to the Garnaut report from all around Australia from different interest groups and different individuals. I welcome the interest; I welcome the response; it is part of a debate that we must have.

Many organisations have different views. Some go for a particular interim target by 2020; others go for a target by 2025; some say we need a target by 2030, while others say we need a target by 2015. Everybody has a different target. Some say, "We think the target should be this."What Professor Garnaut will do for us as a community and as a nation is bring it together and allow us to go forward with confidence on the basis of the rigour of his investigation so we can agree as a nation on the timing and the quantum of the targets and of the task which we face.

Dr Foskey, I will be the first to say—I will say it here now—that the position we have propounded through the weathering the change strategy is an excellent starting position, but it will change. We will change our responses; we will change the actions we seek to pursue; we will change the amount of resourcing we need to apply; we will change the targets we need to meet. I would not mind betting that it happens every few years.

In terms of the message that Professor Garnaut delivered to the Council of Federation in Adelaide two weeks ago, the level of our response, the amount of resourcing, the quantum of the targets will all increase, and the level of our anxiety will increase proportionately, I fear and feel. We are faced with a grave situation. It is interesting that already, through his preliminary work and the modelling that he and his team are doing, Professor Garnaut suggests that Sir Nicholas Stern was far too conservative, that his modelling was not appropriate and that the targets and the nature of the problem that we accepted from Stern—to that point the most rigorous assessment that the world had seen of the issues we face—are not, in fact, reflective of the situation we face. The preliminary work suggests the situation is far graver than Stern revealed in his modelling and in his report. That is anxiety-inducing, to say the least. We will respond, and we will stand open to the latest advice, as long as the science is good, the inquiry is rigorous, the reports are objective and we can go forward with confidence.


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