What the Greens say:

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

Heat on government as nation swelters: Greens

The hottest year on record in Australia is further evidence that climate change is already affecting all Australians, Greens climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said today.

“The Howard government’s refusal to join the global community in addressing climate change for over a decade has left communities without the strategic planning to ameliorate the effects of extreme weather events from floods, fires, droughts and heatwaves,” Senator Milne said in Hobart.

“This decade of lost opportunity under Prime Minister John Howard has meant there is virtually no risk assessment at the local level of likely impacts of climate change and what can be done to minimise them and to adapt to them.

“Australians are no longer going to tolerate the government’s inaction on climate change.

“Instead of criticising the Kyoto Protocol, the government should immediately ratify it, increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to 10 per cent, establish a mandatory energy efficiency target and set up a system for capping and trading greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Asia Pacific climate pact meeting in Sydney next week is not a substitute for global action under the Kyoto Protocol. So far the pact is a sideshow with no targets or funding and is acting as a smokescreen to real action.

“Environment Minister Ian Campbell needs to explain how technology transfer alone and in the absence of targets is going to achieve the huge reduction in greenhouse gases scientists say is required.

“We need strong greenhouse gas reduction targets and we need them now. Failure to reduce greenhouse gases by 50-60 per cent by 2050 will only increase the human, environmental and economic costs of fires, floods, droughts and heatwaves.”