Question Time: Climate change

  • Transcript, E&OE
01 December 2015

Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (14:17): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on developments at the Paris climate change meeting and on what the government is bringing to the climate change negotiations? How does this compare with other proposed approaches?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:17): I thank the member for O'Connor for his question. Overnight, the Prime Minister joined about 150 world leaders at the climate change meeting in Paris. They are all calling for a strong and effective global agreement to respond to the challenge of climate change, seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis. The Prime Minister highlighted Australia's considerable economic effort in reducing our share of greenhouse gas emissions. While our contribution to global emissions is just over one per cent, our target of a reduction of 26 to 28 per cent by 2030 is one of the biggest reductions by any G20 country. Indeed, as the Prime Minister said in the speech to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred, 'We will be reducing our emissions per capita by half.' As I have noted in previous answers, that is a reduction per unit of GDP of about two-thirds.

Recognising that innovation in technology will be essential to reducing emissions and driving economic growth–and, of course, the Prime Minister has put innovation at the heart of our policy agenda–the Prime Minister has announced that Australia will support the doubling of investment in clean energy innovation over the next five years. Further, the Prime Minister also announced that Australia will ensure that at least a billion dollars, over the next five years, from our existing aid budget will help to reduce the impact of natural disasters in our region and to prepare them for the risks of natural disaster, because, of course, the Pacific–our part of the world–is one of the most natural-disaster-prone regions in the world. So, in consultation with development partners, particularly in the Pacific, we are taking practical steps which will strengthen our development programs with Pacific island nations in particular. That is why we are co-chairing the Green Climate Fund–to ensure that there is a focus on Pacific nations.

The opposition, in contrast, continues in its desperate attempt to grab a headline with this reckless and ill-considered 45 per cent emissions target and 50 per cent renewable energy target. They will not give you any details on how they are going to do it because they know it means a supercharged carbon tax. The Climate Change Authority's analysis, commissioned by Labor, shows that Labor's 45 per cent reduction would wipe more than $600 billion off the economy. It would mean that employment by 2030 in the coal and gas industry would be 23 per cent lower than otherwise and jobs in the construction industry would be 11 per cent lower, and this Climate Change Authority analysis, commissioned by Labor, says the electricity sector would lose tens of thousands of jobs. Workers would lose jobs, and we know this because Professor Garnaut said the carbon tax would lead to vulnerable, large-scale loss of livelihood across–(Time expired)

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