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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1312 ..


Fifty years ago, in the peak age of nuclear weapons, we did not hesitate. We spotted doom on the horizon. We knew we were about to destroy ourselves and take much of the planet with us. People from around the world got together and called for a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Within three years, it was in place. Only four countries have acquired nuclear weapons since that treaty came in. We have avoided a global nuclear war. The treaty worked.

We are facing another apocalypse now. We are in the age of climate change. People made it happen, and people can stop it, but we will succeed only if we act together with speed. There is a growing movement that knows it is time for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, a treaty modelled on the successful antinuclear treaty which only took three years from start to finish to set up all around the world.

A fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty fills a vital gap. It tackles the supply side of fossil fuel. This is an aspect of climate policy that has been left out of the Paris agreement. The Paris agreement makes no mention of coal, oil or gas, to the joy of the fossil fuel lobby and to the despair of environmentalists and rational people everywhere. We cannot simply wait for businesses and governments to wind down business models that have delivered profits for years. We need to give them a push. We have to deal with the supply side of fossil fuel if we are going to tackle climate change.

Here in the ACT we have done a lot to phase out the use of fossil fuels. The Greens campaigned on 100 per cent renewable electricity for years. I remember hearing about it at a climate rally in 2010, when Caroline Le Couteur told us that we would have 100 per cent renewables by 2020. I am embarrassed to say that I did not believe Caroline. It sounded too big, too far ahead of what the federal government said was possible, too much of a crazy Greens idea.

But here we are. We have made it. I am really proud to be part of a government that brought in 100 per cent renewables. Now we are working towards energy efficient buildings. We are changing our gas to electricity. We are trying to reduce our transport emissions. All of these steps tackle the demand for fossil fuel. None deals with the supply. We need to look at the whole picture.

We do not have a coal mine or a gas mine to close down in the ACT. You can bet that if we did, a few of my mates would be locked onto it right now. But there is still a lot of fossil fuel production in Australia. We have a federal government that is funding a gas-led recovery. We are part of an international system that actively supports fossil fuel. We should do what we can and call for a treaty that stops this madness.

We may be the first Australian jurisdiction to join this movement—we may be the first state or territory in the world to do so—but we will not be acting alone. Several major cities have called for a treaty. Los Angeles became the first US city to endorse the call a few weeks ago. Vancouver’s resolution passed late last year. Barcelona followed earlier this year. A New York resolution has been tabled. Over 101 Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, have signed an open letter calling for the treaty. That letter was sent to the heads of state in the lead-up to President Biden’s recent


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