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Monday, 16 September 2019
Page: 3084


Mr CONROY (Shortland) (11:10): I'm glad to follow the government's climate policy adviser, the member for Hughes, a man whose fingerprints are all over the government's abject failure on climate policy for the last six years. It's actually a national embarrassment. It will go down in history that the member for Hughes and other tinfoil-hat-wearing members of the government such as the member for New England and Senator Canavan have driven the entire climate policy disaster in this country.

Let's inject some facts into this debate. The world is warming. We are seeing earlier starts to bushfire seasons. We're seeing longer bushfire seasons and more significant bushfire seasons. We are seeing cyclones and hurricanes hitting places that never saw storms before. We are seeing significant flooding events happening in areas that have never seen them before and we are seeing more severe flooding events. In my portfolio responsibility of the Pacific, we have an entire region that is suffering an existential crisis, and those on the other side laugh about it and make jokes, as the member for Dickson did.

The truth is the government's 2020 and 2030 targets are inadequate. The 2030 target is woefully inconsistent with the Paris treaty goal of keeping global warming well below two degrees. What makes it even more farcical is that the government won't even meet their inadequate targets. Emissions are rising every year under the government. In contrast, under Labor emissions fell by 10 per cent. They will miss the Kyoto 2020 commitment and they will miss the Paris 2030 commitment.

Australia's total emissions in the last year rose by 0.6 per cent. In fact, since the emissions trading scheme was abolished, emissions in this country have risen by 1.4 per cent. The truth is, according to the government's own figures, in 2020 carbon pollution will be 1.3 per cent above 2000 levels, not the five per cent below 2000 levels which is their own target. And they'll only hit the cumulative abatement task by using cheap accounting tricks such as the Kyoto carryover units; by Labor's Renewable Energy Target driving down electricity emissions; by the deindustrialisation of Australia, by driving off the Australian auto-manufacturing sector, leading to reduced emissions; and by the drought. That is the only way the government can claim to meet the cumulative abatement task to 2020. The truth is that end points matter as much is the cumulative abatement task, and Australia's emissions in 2020 under this government, this hopeless government, will be higher than in 2000. That is a national shame.

What's happening in 2030? The government's own figures, again, show that emissions in 2030, at best, will only be seven per cent below 2005 levels, not the 26 per cent below that they've committed to. They will miss their own woefully inadequate target by 19 percentage points. Again, they will only achieve the cumulative abatement task by electricity emissions falling due to Labor's RET, a decline in manufacturing and the drought. Then they'll make it up with their direct action policy—a policy thoroughly discredited, a policy where 20 per cent of the contracts have already been cancelled and a policy where there is no real additionality for any of the grants given under this program.

They also claim that they will cut carbon pollution through a non-existent electric vehicle strategy. In fact, the EV strategy that they're basing their abatement task on is the one that they attacked Labor for having. Such is the hypocrisy of the government—they attack our EV policy and then they claim the emissions from that EV policy to hit their 2030 target! Finally—and this is my favourite—100 million tonnes of abatement is from non-existent and unspecified technology changes. They have just assumed that they are going to pluck 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the air, even though they've got no basis for it and no policy for it.

I want to finish on this final point. I want to go back to the member for Hughes, the brains trust of the government on climate policy. He said, 'It doesn't matter what Australia does, because we're only one per cent of global emissions.' The truth is there are 15 nations whose emissions are between one and two per cent of global emissions. Those 15 nations' emissions combined are 20 per cent. So those 15 nations together are the second highest polluter in the world. What we do matters. I ask the member to reflect on what would have happened if he ran that argument during World War II, where we contributed something like one per cent of total armed combatants. Does that mean that our contribution didn't matter? Of course it mattered, and of course it matters in this climate policy debate on which those opposite will stand condemned by history.