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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3571..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

their war memorial, and there is a wonderful section there relating to the 16 allied countries which formed part of the United Nations forces that went to the aid of South Korea. The Australian commitment was very significant. After the United States, followed by the British, it was probably the third largest and most effective contribution made there. Since then we have been allies and trading partners. South Korea is one of the Asian tigers and its people are very friendly. Not many people there speak English, but you can make yourself understood.

An excellent ceremony and festivity was conducted by the local Korean community. I now have, through family connections, an even more important reason to be associated with the community and in that regard it was a pleasure for me to turn up. My congratulations go to all the members of the Korean community in Canberra for putting on the festival. It was certainly enjoyed by all who attended.

Environment-climate change

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.53): Mr Speaker, over the past week Kenya has been hosting the second meeting of parties to the Kyoto protocol on climate change. As Australia has not yet ratified the protocol, it is in the embarrassing position of being there only as an observer. It is shameful that Australia is only an observer at the UN conference, but more devastating are the real costs of not signing the Kyoto protocol.

The support of the people of the ACT for combating climate change was evidenced by the fact that 3,000 people turned out for the walk against warming held last week. I would also like to commend the ACT government on its ongoing commitment to tackling climate change and I will be working hard to ensure that it continues to uphold that track record. However, until Australia as a nation acknowledges the all-encompassing nature of the threat, our response will fall short.

Two reports issued in the last few weeks have made climate change a hot topic round the world. The first of these was the UN report which showed that greenhouse gas emissions of the major industrialised countries continue to increase and the second was a study by an adviser to the UK government, Sir Nicholas Stern, which found that climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.

Mr Mulcahy: Have you read that one?

MR GENTLEMAN: The central message from the report is a simple one: it will cost far less to cut emissions now than to adapt to the consequences later. The review calculated that the dangers of climate change would be equivalent to at least 20 per cent of GDP each year. I am sure that Mr Mulcahy is interested in that. By contrast, the cost of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impact of climate change can be limited to around one per cent of global GDP every year, just one per cent. The review found that all countries will be affected by climate change, but the poorest countries will suffer the earliest and most severely. Therefore, it is essential that climate change be fully integrated into development policy and there is a greater obligation for the wealthier countries to cut back on CO2 emissions.

Mr Mulcahy: Do you want to get those trucks off the road?

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