Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4607 ..
The next insight to focus on is that a zero net emissions policy is the right way to go. Zero net emissions, or carbon neutrality for Canberra and the ACT, is the policy for these times. It is the centrepiece of the government’s response to climate change, and my experience overseas simply confirms its fundamental role and that it can be achieved. It must be the overarching objective of government policy and is absolutely capable of being delivered within a realistic time frame.
Copenhagen is one of the significant cities around the world that shares this ambition with Canberra. Their vision is to make Copenhagen the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. To this end they have 50 specific initiatives carefully developed and costed in order to meet that goal. They readily acknowledge the costs. But their analysis shows it is an investment with good long-term returns financially and in terms of health, performance and wellbeing for all of their citizens.
The city government is determined to lead by example. Municipal buildings will be climate upgraded, reducing energy use and making them better work environments. Energy upgrades are excellent investments because this reduces energy losses as well as general consumption. They expect to save approximately €4 million a year just on their energy bill.
Next, Madam Assistant Speaker, the point I wish to make is that inspirational or stretch targets are critical. I have extolled the virtues of inspirational or stretch targets previously, particularly in regard to this government’s zero net emissions policy. Again, the exposure I had overseas, and places which are leading the world, confirm the intrinsic value of these targets.
In 1996 the Freiburg Council decided to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent before the year 2010. By applying a well designed package of actions, emissions could be markedly reduced, particularly in the traffic and energy sectors. Almost 60 per cent of the city’s electricity is generated by combined heat and power plants, for example.
Despite their best efforts, Freiburg will not reach this goal. However, it is regarded as an incentive by the city to redouble climate protection efforts. I think there is a lesson for us here in Canberra. Set a goal and go for it. You might not make it but you will achieve a hell of a lot along the way.
In Freiburg, as a result of not meeting their goal, the council decided to proceed with its climate protection policies and raised the benchmark even higher for the next phase: 40 per cent less CO2 by 2030. The goal is ambitious, but not unrealistic, since the national and international conditions for climate protection have improved considerably.
Madam Assistant Speaker, the insight I would like to reflect on in conclusion is that the government’s existing initiatives in renewable energy are essential. Two of the ACT Labor government’s most significant existing initiatives were reaffirmed by the exposure I had to world’s best practice. Firstly, our feed-in tariff; we were right to implement it. We were right to choose a gross model over a net model, the only Australian jurisdiction to do so. And we are right to be actively reviewing and