Senate debates

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Questions without Notice

Climate Change

2:31 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Roberts for his question. I think I recall, Senator Roberts, you possibly referencing this Senate estimates exchange at some stage previously. So I am vaguely aware of it albeit the Chief Scientist obviously appears in a different estimates committee to the one that I represent the Minister for the Environment in.

Speaking of the Chief Scientist, I acknowledge the winners of the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science, who are in the gallery today. It was a wonderful evening last night. Congratulations to some incredibly eminent Australians. Senator Cash and the Prime Minister both had some very fine words to say for them.

Senator Roberts, going to your question, I have not personally reviewed the Hansard but I imagine the Chief Scientist would have gone on to highlight that Australia acting in isolation does not necessarily of itself make a marked difference. That is why the Turnbull government's approach, and that of predecessor governments, has been to take action as part of a multilateral arrangement in conjunction with other nations. Our 26 to 28 per cent reduction commitment made through the Paris Agreement is just that—with other countries equally making commitments as part of a concerted effort. Our focus, then, as a government is to ensure that those targets are met in the least costly manner. Of course, this week we have seen a significant step taken forward in terms of how it is that energy policy will contribute to those targets by 2030 through the new energy guarantee, just as our government has ensured the 2020 targets are met and exceeded without the need for Labor's carbon tax, for example. (Time expired)

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