Page 866 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013
associated with transport. But the important thing is that any party aspiring to be in government needs to have a credible policy when it comes to abating the emissions of the city, and those opposite have none whatsoever.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.40): I thank Ms Berry for bringing on this motion in the Assembly today. I think it is an excellent opportunity to talk about both climate change and the policies that are being implemented here in the ACT. Certainly, as members no doubt know, the Greens have a long history of work on this issue, and we are proud we have been able to have a positive impact here in the ACT in terms of the position that the ACT government now holds.
Climate change is not going away, and it is an issue that community leaders are going to have to deal with for a long time to come. But certainly the next decade or so is a critical time for tackling this very challenging issue in terms of how we as a species generate our energy and impact on the planet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to report this year. Large chunks of this report were leaked last year, which was an unfortunate incident, given the history of that organisation of working collaboratively to get the best possible science. And to see one author engaged in that process of seeking to damage the process through his lack of integrity was very disappointing. Nonetheless, that draft report is still undergoing a peer review but it has got some quite strong findings in it.
Those findings, which have been talked about and cited, say that it is virtually certain that the impacts of these changes in temperature that are happening to the planet are caused by human activities. These are the sorts of findings that are in there. They are very strong findings. And if they come through in the final report, I think it simply reinforces the science that has been building up over the last two decades. What it does point to is that there is not going to be great news in that new report and it is going to underline the fact that this remains a policy challenge that is both global and local in scale in the way that it needs to be tackled.
Certainly Australia has not performed well on climate policy generally, and it has been slow to respond compared to many other countries around the world. I think that is a reflection of the fact that the coal industry in particular has a very significant impact on government decision making in Australia. My federal colleague Senator Christine Milne outlined in some detail those issues at the National Press Club last week. And I think we see that influence reflected in a range of federal government decisions which are at odds with seeking to tackle climate change. Certainly the significant expansion of coal mines, the development of new coal ports in areas adjoining the Great Barrier Reef and the rapid expansion of coal seam gas developments, despite all of the concerns that have been raised about them, are examples where federal government and state government policy are working contrary to trying to tackle climate change in a serious way.
That said, we do now have a carbon price in place in Australia as a result of the efforts of the Greens and the Labor Party in the federal parliament. And this mechanism will be a building block for an emissions trading scheme. The good news is that the carbon price, in conjunction with other policies such as the federal renewable energy target,