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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10183


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (10:37): We have just heard Senator Madigan's 'stop the planet; I want to get off'' bill. That is what this is. We have around the world wind power being installed at an unheard-of level. I used to work at Liddell Power Station, which is a 2,000-megawatt coal fired power station and one of the biggest in Australia. To try to get some understanding of what is happening with wind power: in 2012 alone there is around the world 238 gigawatts of wind power installed. That is about 119 Liddell Power Stations—a huge investment in wind power all around the world. If you look at the International Energy Agency website and you go to what is targeted for wind power around the world, you see that it is targeted to pick up 12 per cent of energy needs by 2050. That requires 47 gigawatts of installation of wind power every year for the next 40 years. It is $81 billion a year in investment.

Senator Madigan said that this was a billion-dollar industry. Senator Madigan, it is not a billion-dollar industry; it is a trillion-dollar industry. The industry will have to invest $3.2 trillion through to 2050 to meet that 12 per cent with wind energy. Senator Madigan throws these words around—'The wind energy industry can do whatever it likes' and 'The system allows it to do whatever it likes'—but I did not see Senator Madigan sleeping through any of the evidence, so he has obviously ignored much of it. He obviously has not read the evidence from the Queensland conservative government, who say that they have stringent regulation in place, that they do not want an industry to operate without any regulation and that the regulations that are in place with the state governments around this country are amongst the most stringent regulations anywhere in the world.

I have a little bit of an issue with Senator Madigan's approach on this. I would like to remind the Senate why we need renewable energy. The climate science is in, Senator Madigan. You cannot continue to believe that the climate science is not there and that this is some kind of conspiracy by the wind power industry or some group of bankers in Zurich or somewhere. This is a real problem. It is a problem the world is struggling to deal with, and wind energy is one of the key components to try to deal with the issue of global warming and climate change. I know many senators in this place are sceptics, deniers, conspiracy theorists or just political opportunists on this.

Senator Williams: What about realists?

Senator CAMERON: I will take that interjection by Senator Williams, who said, 'No, we're just realists.' Senator Williams, the realists around the world are people like the World Bank, not some left-wing conspirators trying to create a world government. They are saying that there are significant problems. Let me remind you of the Australian Academy of Science 2010 report. They are being realists. They are the realists on this issue. They put out a report: The science of climate change: questions and answers. Go have a look at it. Have a look at what it says. They try to address the confusion created by contradictory information in the public domain. Obviously, Senator Williams, you have not read it.

I remind senators of the 2011 CSIRO report Climate change: science and solutions for Australia. That report draws on the latest peer reviewed literature contributed by thousands of researchers in Australia and internationally. It provides a synthesis of CSIRO's long history of public funded research over several decades. Obviously, Senator Williams, you have not read that either. It highlights the importance of climate change as a matter of significant environmental concern in Australia and provides the latest information on international climate change science and the responses.

If you want to be a denier, if you want to be a sceptic, if you want to listen to Alan Jones, you will not believe it, you will say the scientists are wrong—the CSIRO has it wrong; the Academy of Science has it wrong. But let me tell you: I would take those bodies before I would listen to Alan Jones any day, because I am concerned about the future for my grandkids and the kids that are being born in Australia today.

They have to have a future, and part of that future is wind farms. Part of that future is renewable energy. It is absolutely important that we deal with this issue on the basis of science and not on what is said by groups that are running around trying to instil fear in local communities. These groups are creating the problems that local communities are feeling because they are out there fearmongering about wind farms.

It is not just the scientists who are worried. The Catholic Church is worried, Senator Madigan. I would ask you to go and have a look at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences report in 2011. I notice that you are smiling. I am not sure if you have read the report, Senator Madigan, but I am sure it would certainly educate you a little bit about what the scientific issues are. The Vatican brought together a number of the world's most eminent scientists on climate change, and their report said that global warming and climate change is a real problem. Icebergs are falling into the sea. Glaciers are retreating. The sea level is rising. You can sigh all you want, Senator Madigan, but I can tell you that I would listen to these bodies before I would listen to the Waubra Foundation, who probably wrote your speech for you.

The report from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences calls on all people and all nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses. Senator Madigan, go down and see your local representative of the Vatican in Australia, talk to them, get a copy of the report. I will send it to you, if you like. But I can tell you that they are equally concerned about this, as are the scientists in Australia.

I remind senators of the Bureau of Meteorology's State of the Climate 2012 report, which provides an updated summary of long-term climate trends. It notes that the long-term warming trend has not changed, with each decade being warmer than previous decade since the 1950s—and it goes on and on. Last week, the World Bank released its contribution to this issue in a report called Turn down the heat. The report provides a snapshot of recent scientific literature and a new analysis on the impacts and risks that could be associated with a four-degree Celsius warming this century. It outlines a range of risks, focusing on developing countries and especially the poor. The report describes a number of meteorological record-breaking events. It goes to England and Wales: wettest autumn on record since 1766; Europe, hottest summer in the last 500 years; England and Wales, May to July, wettest since records began in 1766; Victoria, Australia, heatwaves—many station temperature records; Western Russia, the hottest summer since 1500; Pakistan, rainfall records; the western Amazon, drought and record low levels of rainfall in Rio Negro. I can go on and on, yet we still have people who say that global warming and climate change is not real. I go to those points because, Senator Madigan, I do not believe the issue of wind turbines is the issue with you.