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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4043

Climate Change

Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Will the minister outline recent findings on the climate science and what the government is doing to meet these important economic and environmental challenges? How have these findings been received? What is the government's response?

Mr Chester interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Gippsland seems to think that he has had the call on a number of occasions today. He seemed to take a great interest in Noddy. He can go out and read about Noddy, Big Ears and the rest if he likes. But while he is in here he will sit there quietly.

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:32): Credible climate scientists around the world have been telling governments for some time that carbon pollution is contributing to climate change. The government respects the scientific advice. A new peer reviewed report out today from the Climate Commission—and the Prime Minister referred to this report in an earlier answer—summarises the latest science and makes clear that climate change is happening faster than previously thought.

The report's central message is that the next 10 years are critical in our efforts to deal with this significant economic and environmental challenge. The report spells out significant risks to human health, to agriculture, to cities, to infrastructure and to natural heritage from the more severe climate impacts over the longer term. Importantly, so that people can see this clearly, it sets out the evidence pertinent to the warming of the atmosphere, the sea level rises that are being experienced and the risks to icons like the Great Barrier Reef. The report concludes that an economic transformation is needed to achieve the reductions in carbon pollution we need to avoid severe impacts from climate change.

The report and its findings were welcomed today by the shadow minister for climate action, the member for Flinders, who said in a media release: 'There is bipartisan support in Australia in support of the science of climate change, as presented in the report.' The problem for the member for Flinders is that he does not have a policy to deal with the threat that climate change represents. The report's findings make it clear that direct action measures, so-called, which rely almost entirely on tree planting and soil carbon, are not a credible way to tackle climate change.

The SPEAKER: Member for Mackellar, I make it clear that I am giving you the call for a point of order with nothing else included.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: My point of order is that there is a need for a direct answer to the question on the science and the threat to people's property. Could the minister include in his answer whether he thinks that his own waterfront properties are at risk?

The SPEAKER: I invite the member for Mackellar to leave the chamber for one hour under 94(a).

The member for Mackellar then left the chamber.

Mr COMBET: So-called direct action measures, which rely almost entirely on tree planting and soil carbon, are not a credible way to tackle climate change, according to this report, and yet the Leader of the Opposition today in the media claimed otherwise. He never lets facts get in the way of a fear campaign. What is needed is a carbon price, as advocated by the government, to cut pollution and to drive investment in clean energy. They are still a rabble over there on this issue and on the science in particular. In total contempt for the shadow minister's stated position on the climate science, Senator Minchin has been out today speaking for the climate science deniers, and he had this to say:

The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed—

Mr Abbott interjecting

Mr COMBET: The Leader of the Opposition is saying it is true. We just heard from the shadow minister that there is bipartisan support here. Senator Minchin goes on to say:

… selectively appointed to further the cause of global warming alarmism.

And of course Senator Minchin, who owns the Leader of the Opposition who installed him, wrecking action on climate change—a noted climate science denier—is the one who thinks it is a communist conspiracy.

We have had the member for Tangney out today as well. He said the following this morning: 'Over the last 10 years there's been no increase in the globe's temperature.' It just so happens that that contradicts the findings of the World Meteorological Organisation, NASA and the CSIRO. Facts cannot get in the way of fear in this important issue and it is time the Leader of the Opposition took public policy responsibility and took the credible science seriously. (Time expired)

Mr Christensen interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Dawson should be very careful. I remind him that he is in the House of Representatives chamber, not outside kicking dust. The member for Bennelong is waiting patiently for the call. He will get it when the House comes to order.