House debates

Thursday, 4 August 2022


Climate Change Bill 2022, Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022; Consideration in Detail

11:15 am

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move the revised Greens amendments (1) and (2) to the Climate Change Bill 2022:

(1)   Clause 10, page 5 (line 10), omit "43%", substitute "at least 75%".

(2)   Clause 10, page 5 (line 16), omit "2050", substitute "2035 and working towards negative emissions thereafter".

We are doing this presumably because we want to stop dangerous climate change. What we know is that the planet is like the human body: there is a narrow temperature range within which it can exist and still be healthy. If you heat up the human body too much and go beyond that acceptable range you start to get sick, organs can start to fail, systems can start to collapse. You might not know how much damage is done but you will do damage that might be irreparable. Heated up beyond that, death almost certainly follows. The planet is the same. The planet has a guardrail of acceptable temperatures, and we know what they are because that is what was signed up to in the Paris Agreement.

Scientists have made it crystal clear that, beyond two degrees of global heating, runaway climate change may become unstoppable. Feedback loops may kick in and it might be too late for our kids and grandkids to do what is necessary to fix it. They have also given us a clear indication that at two degrees, and even if we stop it going over two, we will say goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef, crops will start to fail, and in the Murray-Darling Basin you will be looking at substantial collapse in agricultural productivity during the lifetime of today's primary school students.

The Paris Agreement also says we should keep alive the hopes of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees. That is something our Pacific Islanders are crying out for because they know that if it gets to two degrees and we don't stop at 1½ degrees, their homes will disappear. Even 1½ degrees would mean a scarier world than what we have now. It would mean certain crop failures in Australia. It would mean worse fires and floods than the ones we are seeing at the moment. We have already hit one-and-a-bit degrees and we have to stop the world heating by 1½ degrees, so if we hit two degrees, say goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef. Large parts of Australia will start to become uninhabitable if we go above that, and we may never be able to stop climate change. That is why we are doing this. We are not doing this just to have a little bit of pollution reduction; we are doing this to stop us going over the cliff.

To meet those targets, we have been told what we need to do. Unfortunately, because the coalition took us backwards for so long, we now need to move faster. When someone has made the problem worse, we need to act more quickly to fix it, not slow down. The Climate Council, the climate targets authority, our Pacific Island neighbours and the world's scientists have all said very clearly: if you want to stop global warming exceeding two degrees, you need to have at least 50 per cent cut, but if you want to limited to 1½ degrees, to give us a chance of the reef surviving and the 60,000 jobs that depend on it, to give the Pacific Islanders what they are asking for and what indeed I think this government just signed up to a couple of weeks ago when it signed up to a communique that said it was committed to limiting global heating to 1½ degrees, then you need pollution cuts of 75 per cent. That is crystal clear. That is the science. That is why we are doing this. Anything less and you are giving up on 1½ degrees.

As the member for Ryan eloquently put it yesterday, you've got to understand what Labor's targets mean. Labor's targets mean—according to the Climate Council and the Climate Targets Panel—overshooting two degrees. That's what they mean. If you think what we're now seeing is bad, with the fires and floods, Labor's targets mean it will be twice as bad. They mean twice as much heating in our planet, which will mean an exponential lift in the risk to human life and the risk to our environment. We're not doing this just to cut pollution by a little bit; we are doing this to try and stop climate change becoming a runaway chain reaction. So, the next time there are fires or floods, or when we see the Great Barrier Reef bleaching next, know that that is what Labor targets are all about. That is what they are designed to achieve: two degrees or more of heating. Climate Analytics and the Climate Council all say that. We need to do better. We need to support these amendments.


No comments