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Time to act -

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The new report putting pressure on the Government to act on climate change.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: In Canberra Julia Gillard has tried to seize back the climate change debate
with the release of a report underlining the need for rapid action.

Her hand-picked Climate Commission says global temperature will continue to rise unless greenhouse
gas emissions are slashed.

The Opposition says the report validates its direct action plan, but refused today to offer anyone
for interview on 7.30.

Instead, Chris Uhlmann will talk to one of the report's authors shortly, but first, a look at
today's events.

CHRIS UHLMANN, REPORTER: Outside Parliament House, Canberra's climate has followed its usual winter
arc, with night-time temperatures often dropping well below zero. But inside, the temperature's
rising.

BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONALS: We are not gonna change the climate from this building.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: Climate change is real.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Government's Climate Commission has delivered a peer-reviewed verdict on the
science, and there are no surprises. It says the climate's changing and human activity is driving
it.

TIM FLANNERY, CHIEF CLIMATE COMMISSIONER: If you look around the world there's not a reputable
academy of sciences anywhere that doesn't support the basic climate science. There's not a credible
government anywhere that doesn't have a climate policy in place.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The committee is also clear on what has to be done.

WILL STEFFEN, CLIMATE COMMISSIONER: The common policy target that Australia and most other
countries around the world have agreed to is limiting, constraining climate change to no more than
a two degree rise above pre-industrial. So that's the target. We wanna have a world that our kids
and grandkids can live in. And that's what's required in terms of limited climate change.

The science says if you work backward from that, we basically have to have de-carbonised the
economy or very close to that by about the middle of the century.

Now, when you look at what that means in terms of investment decisions, we need to make decisions
now that lead us on that pathway toward a de-carbonised economy. So, the critical point is we have
to get emissions turned from the upward trajectory to the downward trajectory by the end of this
decade at the very latest and we have to make investment decisions this decade that put us on that
long-term trajectory that minimises the cost to our economy. If we do it as an emergency step two
decades down the track, it's gonna cost us much, much more.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Prime Minister has boiled that down to one simple message.

JULIA GILLARD: This information is confirming information that we knew, that climate change is real
and it's having a real impact. We need to get on and to price carbon to cut carbon pollution.

CHRIS UHLMANN: It's a bid to combat the simple message that's worked so well for the Coalition.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: This is a toxic tax. Toxic for jobs, toxic for small business and
toxic for people's cost of living. This is a seriously bad tax and the Government should not
proceed with it.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Opposition Leader seized on a single element in the report.

TONY ABBOTT: What the Commission report does is state that direct action would be "a rapid way" of
reducing emissions.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But that's not all it said.

WILL STEFFEN: There's a very good case to be made for getting carbon back into the land. But if
that's all you do, or if you use that to delay action on fossil fuel emissions, you will have gone
backwards a long way.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Greens are pushing for a carbon tax coupled with industry subsidies to drive a
change from coal-based power generation.

CHRISTINE MILNE, GREENS SPOKESPERSON: It is very clear we need to de-carbonise the economy as
quickly as possible, save our forests and get those fossil fuel emissions down at the same time.

CHRIS UHLMANN: It's a measure of how badly this issue's gone for the Government since 2009 that it
believes it needs to restate the scientific case for action, and perhaps it's a measure of how
little confidence the Coalition has in its own policy that Opposition spokesman Greg Hunt refused
all broadcast interviews today. Senator Barnaby Joyce agreed to be interviewed on this program, and
then pulled out. Happily, Greg Hunt did get to ask a question.

GREG HUNT, OPP. CLIMATE ACTION SPOKESMAN: Will the Prime Minister identify the regions that will
suffer large-scale loss of jobs as a result of her carbon fax?

JULIA GILLARD: Of course he is a man who wrote a thesis on why an emissions trading scheme and
pricing carbon was the most effective way of dealing with carbon pollution. Since then he's sold
his soul and pretended that the "direct action" measures of the Leader of the Opposition can work.

CHRIS UHLMANN: What the Coalition really wanted to focus on today was the trouble in detention
centres.

TONY ABBOTT: Given that there are now three critical incidents a day in a system in crisis, will
the Government join the Coalition in supporting a full inquiry into this system in crisis by this
Parliament?

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Coalition's demand for an inquiry into detention centres signals that it wants
to open a second front in the border protection war. That could be because the Coalition believes
the Malaysian solution might actually work and that the boats will stop coming. The Government's a
long way from being out of the woods on this, but there is a hint of greater confidence.

JULIA GILLARD: At some point he's gotta work out whether he is only interested in the politics of
this or he is interested in the policy. If he is genuinely interested in the policy, then he may
want to let us know. But as we know from characterisations by senior members of his own frontbench,
policy isn't his strong suit.