Monday, 2 May 2016
Questions without Notice
Senator Waters, my views on this matter—if I may address the last part of your question first—have not changed since I first participated in this discussion in 2009. I know, as you know, Senator Waters, that there is a very strong view of an overwhelming majority of scientists about the nature and causes of global warming. Therefore, as a matter of reason and prudence, I believe that public policy should be made on the assumption that the majority view is correct. Unlike some, my view is based on reason and prudence, not blind faith or ideology. And, like some, I do not seek to silence dissenting views that dissent from the overwhelming majority. I do not.
In relation to coral bleaching, Senator Waters, the coral-bleaching event underway on the Great Barrier Reef echoes, as you have said, similar bleaching events around the world in Hawaii, in the Seychelles and in Indonesia. Australia is playing its part globally. We were one of the first countries—as you, I think, have acknowledged, Senator Waters—to sign on to the Paris climate change agreement. We are on track to meet and to beat our 2020 target of five per cent below 2000 levels. In fact, projections, of which I am sure you are aware, show that we will exceed our 2020 target by a cumulative 78 million tonnes, which confirms what the government has been saying: Australia does not need a punishing $15.4 billion carbon tax which pushes up the price of electricity in order to reduce emissions. (Time expired)