Page 2557 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008
The objective of the Climate Change (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets) Bill 2008 is to set targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and report on progress made in the ACT towards these targets. Setting targets will assist in achieving ecologically sustainable development in the ACT by addressing issues associated with climate change, promoting commitment to action to address climate change, promoting community understanding about issues of climate change, and encouraging energy efficiency and conservation in the ACT. That is part of a response which is consistent with national and international schemes designed to address climate change.
Mr Speaker, the main work of the legislation is done in clauses 6 to 12. Clause 6 sets out greenhouse gas emission targets for the ACT. The new principal target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. Clause 6 (2) sets an interim target of a 30 per cent reduction by the end of 2020.
Clause 7 sets related targets which are aimed at assisting the ACT in meeting its principal targets. The related targets are at least 20 per cent of all electricity used in the ACT to be from renewable resources by 2014—in six years time—and a 20 per cent reduction in the per capita use of electricity by 2020. Clause 8 sets out the means of determining baseline information about our 1990 levels of emissions. We probably have that information already, Mr Speaker, but it is a technical necessity to set it out in the bill.
Part 3 of the bill is about reporting progress on meeting our targets. Clause 9 requires the minister to report annually on the targets, and clause 10 sets out what must be included in the annual reports, including progress towards meeting the target and, if it is a target year, whether the target has been met. To refresh your memory, Mr Speaker, the target years are 2014 for renewable energy, 2020 for the interim target and the reduction in per capita consumption of electricity and 2050 for the principal target.
The clause sets out the content of the report, including the level of greenhouse gas emissions, the level of renewable energy and the level of per capita energy use. The report must also include an analysis of current measures being used to address the targets and a review of emerging technologies as well as an assessment of the current impact of climate change. The scope of the reports can be extended by regulation.
Clause 11 requires the minister to table the annual report in the ACT Legislative Assembly within three months of the end of the reporting period. Clause 12 requires the minister to conduct a review of the targets every two years and present the results of his review to the ACT Legislative Assembly within three months.
The Canberra Liberals do not see this as a piece of set-and-forget legislation. We aim to ensure that the targets we set will be under fairly constant review. We aim for this to be a living document. We have committed to a biennial review, which we hope to be conducting from the government benches with the science and support that comes from that. We have set interim targets and related targets to help us along the road.
The interim target of 30 per cent reduction by 2020 is designed to stretch us, but it does take into account recent work that tells us that this target is achievable. In March this year, McKinsey and Co demonstrated that Australia could reach this target by a