Page 5611 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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The ACT government recognised the need for early action and has announced its commitment to zero emissions for the ACT by 2060, with per capita emissions peaking in 2013. The government acknowledges that a carbon-neutral Canberra by 2060 will be a formidable task, but considers it vital that we have a clear goal and vision of the city that we want to live in and to pass on to future generations—a city that is willing to accept responsibility and take action to minimise its impact on the climate system and our local environment.

We have commenced significant work across government to revise Weathering the change: ACT climate change strategy. The revised Weathering the change and associated action plan 2 will be released in 2010. The government is working to its commitment to introduce legislation for greenhouse gas reduction targets by June 2010. The ACT government strongly believes that it is necessary to think and act globally and for the ACT to play its part in meeting its legitimate obligations in the global effort in combating climate change.

It is disappointing that these efforts are not being matched at the national and international level. It is particularly disappointing that the Australian Senate did not agree to the Australian government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme after significant compromises were agreed to secure its passage. Certainly the question must be asked of the federal coalition and the Greens as to why they believe that taking measures to halt climate change is not urgent. Why aren’t Assembly members of the ACT Liberals and ACT Greens, who supported measures to act here in the ACT, challenging their federal colleagues to consider the urgency of this issue? Are they now believing that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy? Have they become climate change deniers?

The ACT government welcomed changes the Australian government made to the carbon pollution reduction scheme to accredit GreenPower as additional reductions in the greenhouse gas target. This would have meant that any green energy purchased by the ACT through GreenPower above the 2009 level would have directly reduced the carbon pollution reduction scheme cap.

In a recent presentation to the Lowy Institute, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said:

When you strip away all the political rhetoric, all the political excuses, there are two stark choices—action or inaction. The resolve of the Australian Government is clear—we choose action, and we do so because Australia’s fundamental economic and environmental interests lie in action.

Action now. Not action delayed.

Unfortunately, in Australia we now have action delayed.

We will take every opportunity to urge the Australian government to consider further changes to any new scheme. In particular, we will continue to seek accreditation under the scheme for action taken at jurisdiction level to reduce greenhouse gases. We lobbied actively earlier this year to get voluntary action by the territory to be recognised within the carbon pollution reduction scheme. It is important that actions

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