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Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels

1 August 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT, PARKS and HERITAGE, Mr GUTWEIN

The latest Tasmanian greenhouse gas emissions for 2017 have been released and they make for shocking and distressing reading. Our overall emissions for the state have declined relative to 1995, mostly because the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement stopped such intensive forest logging and now growing trees are storing carbon. The report shows a disturbing trend. Emissions in nearly every industry other than forestry have gone up significantly.

Between 2016 and 2017 emissions from agriculture grew 10 per cent, from industrial processing by 10 per cent, from mining by 7 per cent, from manufacturing and construction by 11 per cent, in the waste sector by 5 per cent, in the land use sector by 9 per cent. The Arctic is on fire, there are titanic levels of methane gas being emitted and freshwater glaciers in Greenland are rapidly melting. These are all signs of a planet that is cooking.

We must act on the climate crisis and bring emissions down across all sectors. Will you recognise that this is a climate emergency and legislate the targets that scientists tell us we need to dramatically reduce emissions across every sector?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for that question and her interest in this important matter. I am very pleased to speak about our greenhouse gas emissions. We are a world leader - and you forget to say that and you should be proud of what Tasmania has been able to achieve.

The latest reported greenhouse gas emissions, which was released on 6 June this year, demonstrates that Tasmania has a unique, world-leading emissions profile in comparison with other jurisdictions -

Ms O'Connor - In comparison to America.

Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, warning number one.

Mr GUTWEIN - Our net emissions in 2017 were a 95 per cent decrease from the 1990 baseline level. I make the point that we are uniquely placed and we should celebrate that. Rather than using alarmist language, as they do, what they should be doing is explaining to Tasmanians, and especially school students, that we are unique in the world. We are so very well placed -

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I take personal offence at that. I was stating the facts. The minister is implying that I am making stuff up. I was very clear about the facts from the report and that is what I am speaking to only.

Madam SPEAKER - You have taken personal offence. I am not certain at which part, but -

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you, Madam Speaker, 'alarmism'. It is not alarmist to speak the truth. I am quoting from the minister's own report and what the scientists have said. Speaking the truth is not alarmist.

Madam SPEAKER - I do think that is an extreme thing to be upset about but, I will ask the Treasurer if he could apologise for saying 'alarmist'?

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, if I have offended the member by calling her 'alarmist', I withdraw that term. I do not know where I would put the fact that the 'Arctic is on fire', but that is just -

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of clarification, Madam Speaker. The scientists are reporting that the Arctic is on fire. Every country in the Arctic Circle is burning with wildfires out of control and this has never been recorded before, at all. I am reporting what every newspaper is saying.

Madam SPEAKER - Thank you very much for that clarification.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I will come back to the point I was making and that is that in this place we should be proud of our emissions profile. We should be proud of the fact that we lead every jurisdiction in this country with our emissions profiles. We have the lowest emissions per person of any Australian jurisdiction by a long shot.

With regard to the decisions that have been made in the past, credit should be given to those who were a part of the hydro industrialisation - the fact that we have a target and will achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022. We are uniquely placed and we should be proud of the position that we hold, not just nationally but internationally, with our emissions profile.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Standing order 45 in relation to relevance. I have asked the minister about the individual sectors. I specifically asked him to address the point about the individual sectors and creating targets for sectors because they are going up.

Madam SPEAKER - As you know, that is not a point of order. It is another distraction to the House but I have allowed you to put it on Hansard. Please continue, Treasurer.

Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will close by saying that we have a very good story in terms of emissions and it is a story that not just this place, but that Tasmanians more broadly should be proud of. As we moved forward with further investment into renewable energy, as we progress to become the battery of the nation, our position will over time be strengthened.