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Democrats deliver greenhouse inquiry.

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Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Senator for Victoria,

Chair Senate Environment References Committee


August 11, 1999


Democrats deliver greenhouse inquiry



The Australian Democrats today delivered on its promise to condu ct the most comprehensive review to date of Australia’s policies to reduce global warming. Following a motion by Victorian Senator Lyn Allison, year long and wide-ranging inquiry was referred to the Senate Environment References Committee.


“This inquiry represents a watershed in the challenge to reduce greenhouse emissions and global warming,” Senator Allison said.


“With wide-ranging terms of reference and a reporting date of August 2000, the inquiry will assess in detail both the current status of Australia’s greenhouse policies and the best future directions.”


Senator Allison said the inquiry brings Australia into line with other nations committed to examining energy issues such as Britain’s Royal Commission Study of Energy and the Environment which is looking into the transition from fossil fuels into a sustainable energy economy.


Senator Allison said key aspects to be examined by the inquiry would include:


  • the effectiveness of Australian policies to reduce greenhouse emissions;
  • the appropriateness of Australia’s commitments under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, particularly the 1997 Kyoto Protocol;
  • whether Australian government programs and policies are sufficient to provide for the development of emerging renewable energy and energy efficient industries;
  • potential improvements to Australia’s policies to reduce greenhouse emissions;
  • the effect of climate change on Australia’s ecosystems, including reef systems, alpine areas, wetland areas.


Senator Allison added that despite being primarily an inquiry into environmental and related policy areas, the economic impacts of greenhouse abatement measures would also be examined during the inquiry.


“This inquiry will provide us with clear policy directions to reduce greenhouse emissions in a sustainable way. It will give us what we need to ensure Australia is at the forefront of greenhouse abatement policy development.


“It is another demonstration that the Democrats are the political party who actually deliver on the environment,” Senator Allison concluded.


[Terms of reference for inquiry into Australia ‘s response to global warming follow.]


Contacts: Justin O’Brien on 0411 473 697, Senator Lyn Allison 015 691 512

Inquiry into Australia's response to global warming


That the following matters be referred to References Committee on the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in August 2000.


The progress and adequacy of Australia's policies to reduce global warming, including:


(a) The effectiveness of Australian policies to reduce greenhouse emissions, in the light of Australia's commitments under the Framework Convention on climate change, including:


(i) Whether Australia is likely to meet its commitments under the framework

convention December 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the potential costs if it

does not. .


(ii) the international response to the Framework Convention


(iii) the development of an effective international and domestic emissions trading system


(iv) the effectiven ess of Australia's policies in comparison to international practice, such as emissions trading regimes and other measures;


(v) the level, and greenhouse implications, of the direct and indirect economic

incentives currently offered to both fossil fuel and renewable energy



(vi) the effectiveness of existing local, state and federal government policies and programs and their implementation.


(vii) the economic, employment and development consequences of greenhouse abatement measures with particula r reference to regional Australia and the differential impact on each State and Territory.


(viii) the social and equity consequences of greenhouse abatement.


(ix) the effectiveness of industry programs and policies in actual emission reduction


(x) Austr alia's contribution to global greenhouse gas abatement through

export of alternative energy sources.


(xi) additional measures including but not limited to carbon trading


(xii) the adequacy and effectiveness of greenhouse gas emission inventories


(xiii) the potential for carbon leakage associated with energy intensi ve industries to countries not party to the framework convention


(b) Whether Australian government programs and policies, both State and Federal, are sufficient to provide for the development in Australia of emerging renewable energy, energy efficiency in dustries, the more efficient use of energy sources, the implementation of new energy technologies (eg fuel cells, hydrogen), including:


(i) the effectiveness of Australia's efforts in relation to other governments;


(ii) the potential of these technologie s to contribute to a reduction in Australia's greenhouse emissions;


(c) Potential improvements to Australia's policies to reduce greenhouse emissions, in the light of available studies of..


(i) current and projected fossil fuel use in Australia, taking i nto account the

effects of current greenhouse reduction policies, trends in transport use of

fuels, the use of energy by high-demand manufacturing, and changes to

electricity ownership and generat ' ion.


(ii) projected climate change impacts on Austral ian industries, such as fishing, tourism, agriculture and others;


(iii) estimated costs of such economic impacts, to assist cost-benefit analysis of various climate change abatement programs and policies;


(iv) the impact of current land management practi ces and policies on current and projected greenhouse emissions, and the potential for Australian agriculture in greenhouse abatement measures.


(v) the potential role for vegetation as carbon sinks and emission reduction by decreasing land clearing.


(vii)  the availability and effectiveness of other means of sequestration as an abatement option.


(d) the projected effect of climate change on Australia's ecosystems including but not limited to:


(i) reef systems


(ii) alpine areas


(iii) wetland areas.




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