Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3051 ..
However, we have undertaken some work on costs. The ACT government engaged a consultant to analyse the costs of achieving the 2030 interim target. Their report suggests that a 65 per cent reduction on 1990 emissions can be achieved by 30 June 2030 at an estimated cost of $5.8 million. This figure comes down when the co-benefits of tackling climate change are taken into account; for example, reduced health expenditure and improved efficiencies in our energy use. It may even be possible to take action in a cost-neutral way.
It is important for the Legislative Assembly to keep in mind that these costs are preliminary. The actual cost will depend on what kinds of steps are sensible from a policymaking perspective. However, it does give you a sense of the task that is before us.
We also know that the cost of tackling climate change now is better than the costs we will have to pay for inaction. If we wait, we will be playing catch-up in dealing with issues like stresses on the health system brought about by extreme heat, and replacing locked in infrastructure that both has a negative effect on our climate and is not built to cope with the impacts of climate change. Businesses will also have additional costs, such as lost employee productivity.
These benefits of taking action now are known as co-benefits, and we have the opportunity to grasp them now or potentially miss them.
We also know that climate-friendly technologies are increasingly becoming more affordable. The price of wind and solar is reducing, and households are finding that they can achieve major energy savings through the use of solar panels. More recent technologies, such as electric vehicles, are also dropping in cost and will eventually be cheaper than their high-emitting alternatives. In other words, such technologies will be business as usual.
Tackling climate change now makes economic sense for governments, businesses and the community.
I am also pleased to inform the Assembly that the government will be adopting a series of interim targets to 2045 that will allow us to track our progress and analyse the costs of tackling climate change over time. As the minister, I will be doing this via a disallowable instrument under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010. To this end, I am also pleased to present the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Interim Targets) Determination 2018. I believe that went up with the previous papers, Madam Assistant Speaker. If it has not, I will double-check that and present it.
The interim targets that will be adopted are: 50 to 60 per cent less than 1990 emissions by 30 June 2025; 65 to 75 per cent less than 1990 emissions by 30 June 2030; and 90 to 95 per cent less than 1990 emissions by 30 June 2040. These interim targets will give the community regular opportunities to hold the ACT government to account.