Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4609 ..
experiences overseas. He has raised a number of very important points, some of which I would like to discuss briefly, and I will try not to take up too much of the Assembly’s time this afternoon.
I note that, homing in on some of the minister’s key points, there are no reasons to delay. We do need to make changes in how we use energy, how we travel and how we build our homes and our city. The fact is that governments must act now; there is no time for delay.
The minister’s witnessing of good economic benefits being delivered overseas in Germany, the UK and Denmark is a very important point to take from the minister’s statement today. The minister’s witnessing of inspiring examples and programs such as Woking in the UK are inspiring because we know they could happen here in the ACT.
In the context of those excellent lessons and inspiring examples, it is important to look at the ACT’s local reality. Our most recent greenhouse gas inventory shows the ACT’s emissions to be more than 25 per cent above 1990 levels and more than 10 per cent above 2000 levels and that emissions have grown at 1.7 per cent per year since 2000—more than double the national average. That coincides neatly with the time that the Labor Party have been in power in the ACT.
We have an increase in electricity emissions that outstrips the national average. We have seen very significant increases in our commercial sector. It is interesting to note that residential consumption has decreased, and I think that is a testament to Canberra’s citizens who are committed to taking action on climate change. Overall, the ACT’s per capita emissions have been going up since 2000, while the national average has been going down. These are all quite sobering statistics and I think they underline the minister’s comments that we face a very significant challenge here in the ACT.
I would like to go back to some of the other points that the minister raised today. His first point was that there is no reason to delay and that we should choose action over inaction. I could not agree more. In the ACT there has been a lot of talk. It was interesting to dive into the archives in preparation for the minister’s statement today, because we had a greenhouse target in the ACT in the 1999 greenhouse strategy—stabilising at 1990 levels by 2008 and reducing by a further 20 per cent by 2018.
This was an interesting document. When you sit down and read it, it is a fascinating historical perspective on where we are now. Clearly, the targets they set would need to be revised in the new global climate where we know that climate change is probably worse than originally predicted. But how good would it have been if we had stuck to the targets in this document? If we had stuck to the targets in this document, we would be much more capable of meeting those scientific requirements now, because the urgency has increased substantially.
How good was this strategy? It is a question that we do need to ask because, under it, our emissions have continued to rise. You could conclude that it is not much good at all, but I also suspect that it is a failure of implementation, because if we pull this