Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3402 ..
The only time Australia’s emissions have significantly fallen in recent decades at a national level was when Australia had a price on carbon. National policies are critical for a consistent approach, and this example amply demonstrates that. While the world moves on to finding smart solutions for a zero emissions future, our federal government continue to pursue their misguided notion that fossil fuels will remain a viable energy source long into the future. This is not only wildly irresponsible climate vandalism; it is also a high-risk approach in an economic sense, leaving our emissions-intense industries exposed in a carbon-constrained global economy. It is clear that we need to end all new coal and gas exploration and extraction. It is clear that we need to rapidly phase out the use of coal and gas, and to find new zero emission ways of manufacturing, so that we can be competitive globally.
Continuing to invest taxpayer funds in subsidising fossil fuel projects is not acceptable. Pretending that we can continue with business as usual and somehow, through seemingly magical technological advances, achieve net zero emissions is not acceptable. Relying on unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage to have any hope of cutting emissions is not acceptable, and it is selling out future generations. We need urgent action on a scale that reflects the urgency of our situation. National governments cannot keep talking about the climate crisis while continuing to pump greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Thankfully, many global leaders are starting to realise what needs to happen and are beginning to take action to phase out fossil fuels. I hope that our federal government will also realise that ignoring the problem is no longer an option, that the climate crisis demands true leadership, and that protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry over the safety and health of people is not okay.
As the motion seeks, I will be writing to the federal emissions reduction minister to call on the government to commit to ending coal and gas extraction, set targets consistent with meeting the goals of the Paris agreement, and implement a range of measures that are necessary aspects of responsible national climate policy.
I will, of course, also write to the Leader of the Australian Greens with these requests. I am proud to say that these commitments have already been made by the Australian Greens, because we are a party that understands the climate crisis and have long been committed to taking action to deliver a just transition and a safe zero emissions future.
The motion also invites Mr Barr and Ms Lee to write to their federal party leaders, urging them to adopt policies and reflect these commitments. This is important because, as I have mentioned, we need strong national policies for an effective and just transition to net zero emissions. Instead we see the federal Labor Party continue to support gas, including backing massive gas extraction in the Beetaloo Basin, and the federal Liberal Party continues to promote the use of fossil fuels. These policy positions are out of touch with reality. They need to get with the times if Australia is to keep up with the pace of global decarbonisation.
I thank Ms Clay for this motion. It does challenge us all to reflect on what we can each do to make a better future for the generations set to come after us. In the ACT we