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Government policy will not avoid catastrophic climate tipping point.

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Senator Christine Milne

Government policy will not avoid catastrophic climate tipping point

Senator Milne, 28th November 2006

The federal government's failed climate change policy was exposed today as no more than hot air when Environment Minister Ian Campbell was unable to answer questions about the extent to which nuclear power and geosequestration will deliver greenhouse cuts by 2020, after which it will be too late.

"Senator Campbell did not dispute the widespread view of scientists that we have a window of only 10-15 years - that is until 2020 - to make the deep cuts needed to avoid a catastrophic climate tipping point beyond which we will have little hope of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions below 550ppm," Australian Greens climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said in Canberra.

"But the Minister could not give any estimate of how many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided by 2020 through the government's nuclear power and geosequestration proposals.

"The fact of the matter is that neither of these options will deliver any cuts to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the next 15 years.

"The federal government is gambling with Australia's future by placing all its hopes in dangerous, costly and slow nuclear power and the expensive experimental technology of geosequestration.

"The government's admission is all the more troubling given the most recent research findings from the CSIRO and Cape Grim air pollution station in Tasmania that the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 to 2005 was more than double that of the 1990s while 2005 represented the fourth year in a row of above-average carbon dioxide growth.

"As a major per capita greenhouse emitter and exporter of fossil fuels, Australia needs to make deep emission cuts. It is clear from Senator Campbell today that this won't happen under the Howard government."

Senator Milne will be moving to add a 'greenhouse trigger' to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act when amendments are debated tomorrow. The Greens will introduce a climate change bill to the Senate on Thursday.

Question Time Hansard is available on request.

Contact: Katrina Willis 03 6234 4566 or 0437 587 562