Wednesday, 3 February 2021
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that the global carbon budget has been updated since the Climate Change Authority's targets and progress report of February 2014 so that according to the independent Climate Targets Panel, Australia's new science based targets require greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to:
(i) at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2045 in order to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees: and
(ii) at least 74% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2035 in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees; and
(b) respects the science of climate change and will act according to the best available scientific advice.
Australia has a track record of meeting and beating our international commitments. We have beaten our 2020 target by 459 million tonnes. We're on track to meet and beat our 2030 target. Australians are also deploying renewable energy at 10 times the global per person average. These are achievements Australians can and should be proud of, but climate change is a global problem requiring global action. That's why Australia has committed to the Paris Agreement and to investing in the new and emerging technologies that will make net zero emissions achievable.
One Nation opposes this motion. Once again the Greens are pretending Australia has a carbon budget when it does not. Not content with pretending that Climate Change Authority thought bubbles are actual legislation, now Senator Whish-Wilson is giving the Senate the benefit of his advice on reducing a trace gas that is necessary for all life on earth. Carbon budgets are scientific nonsense. Let me give you an example. The Drax power station in the UK was recently converted from burning coal to burning trees. One would think that the Greens would be horrified at this destruction of forests, but no. This was a green energy initiative. Apparently, in carbon budgets, carbon dioxide from coal is bad but carbon dioxide from chopping down and burning trees is good. What? I agree with Senator Whish-Wilson that government policy should be underpinned by verified science. That's why an office of scientific integrity and quality assurance would help the government shape policy based on science, not the Greens' parallel universe.
Labor won't be supporting this motion. We do support strong action on climate change to create jobs, reduce emissions and improve affordability and reliability. As the Greens know, science based targets should be determined by a transparent, government led process that respects the views of experts and the community. The Morrison government has refused to initiate such a process because it is hostage to the climate deniers in its ranks. Labor is the only party of government that will take the science of climate change seriously.