Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 2013 ..
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (10.19), in reply: I would like to thank members for their contributions this evening and, indeed, for their support. There seems to be a lot of support in the Assembly tonight for the feed-in law. I am still a little bit wary, of course, of the opposition. They have not said they are going to support or oppose the bill yet, so I guess we will see when we get to the vote on the in-principle stage.
It has been some time since this bill was tabled, and I do think it appropriate to bring some new light to the incidence of our greenhouse emissions and, in fact, the contribution Australia is making to global warming. Just a few weeks ago I attended a two-day program, “Imagining the real life on a greenhouse earth”, at Manning Clark House at ANU in honour of Dr Barry Jones. It was attended by quite a few academics and politicians as well. Over the two days it gave us quite an insight into what has happened most recently in regard to climate change.
The introduction to the program by Andrew Glickson and Bryan Furnass advised that the present human-induced climate change is occurring on a scale commensurate with the largest natural calamities, with rates of temperature rise that exceed the fastest glacial terminations by an order of magnitude to which plants and animals can hardly adapt. Since the early 1980s, climate scientists, some of whom were at the conference, have been warning that near two orders of magnitude increase in the rate of human emitted CO2 relative to past glacial terminations is resulting in dangerous climate change. Those warnings have been ignored. They talked about how the denial industry, using Orwellian newspeak in part funded by vested interests combined with fundamentalist profits of the second coming, has effectively delayed climate mitigation by more than 20 years.
During this conference we were advised by Dr Barry Jones that the impact of climate change poses unprecedented challenges not only to the environment but also to the democratic practice and the pluralist values associated with western humanism and that, so far, governments have been glacial in their approach to climate change. I think this government may have a little bit of ice melt under its glacier, and I mentioned this at the conference. We are trying a little bit harder than others.
Just to give you some idea of what climate change can do, Dr Andrew Glickson said at the conference that mass extinctions of terrestrial species, including the late Anthropocene mass extinction, are imminently related to abrupt changes in the physical and chemical conditions of the atmosphere and hypersphere on which these species depend. The indication is that these changes are happening right now. Indeed, the impact can be mass extinctions of species, including our own.
So, to come back to the bill and the comments argued tonight, I am very pleased to see that the Greens support the bill. I have been aware for some time that they have been supportive of the bill. In fact, Dr Foskey did mention the first time the bill was tabled that she would have liked to have seen it presented by the Greens themselves. The history of the bill has been going for quite some time within the Labor Party and within our caucus. There were some comments tonight that the Chief Minister was opposed to the bill. That is quite ludicrous. The caucus, as you know, Mr Speaker, was well informed about the program for the bill, and the Chief Minister was on side all the way through. As he said tonight, it was included in the Weathering the Change