Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2607 ..
reasonable, constructive proposals that recognise the need for reliable and affordable energy while confirming the ACT’s commitment to ambitious emissions reduction and renewables as a responsible way to deliver this and to prevent further harmful climate change.
I look forward to all members of this Assembly supporting the ACT’s negotiating position going into the next round of discussions on the national energy guarantee. I note, acknowledge and warmly welcome the fact that all parties in this place have previously stated their commitment to the ACT’s 100 per cent renewables target, so I hope that today all parties in this place can stand together in advocating for a national energy deal which protects our hard-won progress but also delivers the best and most sustainable energy and climate outcomes for the future of our nation. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (11.20): I rise to make a few points and to support the motion that my colleague Mr Rattenbury has moved today. The Labor Party has a long and proud history of tackling dangerous climate change. It is something I have spoken about before in this place. The fact is that Labor does not just talk about global warming; we act, and we lead.
Canberra Labor has been at the forefront of Australia’s action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive a clean energy future. Powering our city with 100 per cent renewable energy is a Canberra Labor initiative and was led by my predecessor as environment minister, Simon Corbell. Renewable energy is the future and it is a future that Canberrans, indeed all Australians, are embracing. Just look at the uptake of rooftop solar on homes across the country. Of course, I am proud to have led efforts to accelerate the take-up in our city through the feed-in tariff.
Why is renewable energy important? To quote a former US President, “It’s arithmetic.” The Turnbull-Abbott government signed Australia up to the Paris climate agreement. The consequence of this is that Australia has agreed to help limit global warming to two degrees, with an ambition of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Experts tell us that to achieve this agreed goal Australia will have to decarbonise by the middle of the century.
The commitment to net zero emissions by around 2050 is one that is being taken up by the private sector. Indeed one of Australia’s biggest emitters, AGL Energy, has publicly committed to net zero emissions by 2050. This commitment is shared by the other two biggest companies in the energy sector, Origin Energy and Energy Australia.
Recognising the goal of net zero emissions is one that the Turnbull and Abbott Liberals have signed up to. The question becomes: how is this achieved? How do we get there at the least cost? The answer is the energy sector, and that renewable energy is the key to decarbonising the nation’s economy.
Seeking to limit renewable energy and artificially prop up an old, ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations is akin to holding on to the horse and buggy as cars changed