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Democrats ask the PM to explain on climate change.

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Dated: 20 March 2008 Portfolio: Environment & Animal Welfare

Democrats ask the PM to explain on Climate Change


The Democrats said today the Government has ignored the message from top Australian climate scientists who say strong and early action on greenhouse emissions is crucial, directly questioning the Prime Minister on his grasp of the latest, alarming science.

"Judging by the government's lack of action on climate change, the Prime Minister cannot be aware that climate change is accelerating rapidly and it may be too late to halt the catastrophic consequences,” Senator Allison said.

The Democrats questions quizzed Mr Rudd on his knowledge of the latest science, particularly the 23 per cent growth in spring melt of Arctic Sea ice during 2006/7 and the increase in the rate of mountain glacier melt from 30cm to 1.5 meters in less than a decade.

“NASA now says CO2 equivalent concentrations of near 450 ppm now probably need to be reduced to 350 ppm to avoid widespread lengthy droughts, wild storms, acidification of the ocean, collapse of the marine food chain, and sea level rises flooding all low-lying agricultural regions and forcing an exodus of hundreds of millions of people.

“The Government's timetable for increasing the renewable energy target, setting up emissions trading and fostering energy efficiency is just too slow and there is still no sign that it will put a greenhouse trigger into Federal environment laws, as promised during the election.

Yesterday legislation was passed establishing Infrastructure Australia - a body that will make recommendations to government on large scale transport infrastructure - but reducing greenhouse emissions is not one of its objectives in determining priorities, despite transport sector emissions tipped to increase by 45% by 2020.

"The Rudd Government is good on the rhetoric but it balks at every opportunity to put its talk into action. He should meet with the scientists instead of the fossil fuel industry."

Senator Allison has put 12 detailed questions on notice about the latest evidence.

Media contact - David Collyer 0417 613 610

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