Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Bass for his question. At the last election the Prime Minister made it clear that the government was determined to build consensus to support an important economic reform—that is, to introduce a carbon price into our economy. To achieve that aim, the government has taken a number of steps. The first one has been to establish the multiparty climate change committee. That comprises representatives of the government, the Greens, and the members for Lyne and New England. That committee is advised by four independent experts, and I have referred in my earlier answer in question time to the role of Mr Rod Sims. At the last meeting the committee released a number of papers covering areas such as the science of climate change, the action being taken in a number of other countries around carbon pricing and information on energy markets and electricity prices.
I am sure the House will be interested to know that in Professor Will Steffen’s presentation to the committee, advising the committee on climate science, Professor Steffen reported that there is now 100 per cent certainty that the earth is warming and 95 per cent certainty that human-induced emissions are the main cause of the warming observed over the last century.
The second initiative relates to the work that will be carried out by Professor Ross Garnaut, to update his 2008 climate change review. Professor Garnaut’s update will be extremely important. It is due to be completed by the end of May next year and will, of course, be released publicly in progressive stages. Eight papers will be produced. The third initiative is what was announced yesterday—that is, a study by the Productivity Commission into the effective carbon prices that exist in the economies of our major trading partners. That will be another important contribution that is due to be finalised by May next year.
The fourth initiative is the setting up of two roundtables by the government to engage with members of the business community and members of various non-government organisations, including environmental groups and unions, about the issue of carbon pricing.
Finally, the other principal initiative that the government is currently working on and is well advanced in its preparations is the implementation of a new Climate Change Commission—another commitment that was made by the Prime Minister in the election campaign. The commission will play an extremely important role in engaging the public about the climate science, about the economics and about the importance and role of carbon pricing in driving reductions in carbon pollution.
All of these initiatives and the debate that they will inform, and the papers that are being produced, will help build consensus in the community and deepen the level of understanding about the important public policy challenge that climate change represents in this country. All that we hear in this context from the opposition, in this crucial public policy issue for our national long-term interest and for economic reform in this country, is negativity. They say: ‘Stop this, stop that. End this. Don’t do that.’ They wreck this, oppose this, run scare and fearmongering campaigns. They do not have one iota of an idea about a constructive contribution to one of the most important challenges we face in this country. (Time expired)