Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 November 2009) . . Page.. 5109 ..
deliver Canberra a climate-friendly future, to make this a city that was at the cutting edge and to put this city well ahead of other states taking action on climate change.
The people of Canberra have indicated a strong desire to see real action on climate change and, as a result of the ALP-Greens parliamentary agreement and following the minister’s announcement today, we will have legislated targets by the middle of next year. This is not well before time. We know that the ACT’s emissions are now more than 25 per cent above 1990 levels and 10.4 per cent above 2000 levels. So it is quite clear that the ACT needs action to tackle our climate change situation.
We also know that, since about the time the ACT Labor government came to power in 2001, the ACT’s emissions have increased at an average rate of 1.7 per cent per year, more than double the national average increase of 0.7 per cent over the same period. So clearly we face a significant challenge as a jurisdiction.
The government’s announcement of the ACT’s target of carbon neutrality by 2060 has a somewhat aspirational nature about it, and I think that is appropriate. The time frame is a long way away, but we need to be working towards that target of contributing zero emissions to the atmosphere. That aspiration is welcome, but we clearly need action to make it happen. The Greens’ view is that the 2013 peaking target is an important step forward in acknowledging that we must, in the first instance, stop the ACT’s emissions actually growing any further, and setting a target to achieve this is something that we welcome.
The omission of a 2020 target, or an intent to add it later, I think is unfortunate at this point. The science is very clear. There is a clear economic case to implement a target now. I do not think we need to wait for Copenhagen. The developments this week, particularly the poor leadership shown by APEC nations, demonstrate that it is quite likely, and it is becoming increasingly clear, that Copenhagen will not deliver a definitive answer. In the context of the science and the need to move forward, as well as the opportunities for positioning the ACT as an early adopter, as one of the cities, one of the jurisdictions, on this planet positioning itself to be cutting edge and ready to take advantage of a low-carbon future, we do not need to wait for the others to catch up. There is enough clear necessity and opportunity to set ourselves a target and to begin to move forward already.
It is clear from the committee’s report, and certainly a first glance at the government’s response, that there are a tremendous number of opportunities out there for us to cut our emissions rapidly, particularly in the area of energy efficiency. It is the big player in this discussion. The committee’s report identified the significant savings that can be made from improving energy efficiency in the ACT’s buildings, and with more than 70 per cent of our emissions coming from the stationary energy sector this clearly is the place in which the ACT can make significant greenhouse savings very quickly and savings that will deliver an economic return for the building owners, the building occupants and ourselves as a jurisdiction in terms of cutting our own greenhouse emissions. So there is an opportunity there for us to move quickly.
When the Greens were elected to this place, we came committed to delivering on climate change. The government’s response to this committee report today is the