Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4030 ..
With uncertainty surrounding the national and international commitment to addressing climate change and with the future of a national carbon pricing regime unclear, it is important that at the local, state and territory levels we take the steps that need to be taken to address this issue.
Increasingly, it is being recognised that, far from being insignificant and small, action by local and regional authorities will play a critical role in encouraging the more efficient use of energy and providing the frameworks and policies to allow communities to place greater reliance on renewable energy sources and to reduce carbon emissions. Demonstration of progressive and transforming policies to tackle the challenge of climate change can also enable national leaders to follow suit.
The Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Penny Sackett, has recently stated that urgent action is required within the next five years, advising:
… additional delay meant more stringent emission reductions would be required in future if Australia still planned to meet its portion of the worldwide carbon budget aimed at limiting temperature increases to 2 degrees.
A change of two degrees is considered to be the guardrail value, or tipping point, that, if surpassed, will result in dangerous conditions. The Chief Scientist has also observed:
… not all required action will be taken through national government policy …
In the face of slow changes at national levels, it is all the more important that forward-looking industries, states, individual cities and towns, community groups and family groups continue to network together to reduce their carbon footprints and assess the impact of climate change on their activities.
There is currently significant uncertainty about climate change policies nationally and internationally. Implementation of policies by the commonwealth and other jurisdictions, such as a price on carbon, cleaner generation of electricity in the national grid and initiatives that promote renewable energy, could play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT. Therefore, the proposed legislation reinforces the ACT’s efforts to promote collaboration for the development of regional, national and international approaches to addressing climate change.
In the ACT, we must take fundamental action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to transition the ACT from a high emission economy into a low emission, dynamic and sustainable one.
Climate research indicates that the ACT will become drier and hotter and experience more extreme conditions as a result of climate change. Last winter, Canberra had 17 consecutive days with above average maximum temperatures. There were only 38 frosts last winter, well below the winter average of 58. The winter of 2009 was the third warmest on record.