Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has again sounded the alarm for life on Earth, with its six assessment report confirming their previous models and projections were too conservative and that the climate is changing rapidly, before our disbelieving eyes.
The IPCC report makes for grim reading. It presents both enormous challenges and opportunity for Tasmania.
The Gutwein Government has been dragging its heels on taking real action to drive down the State’s emissions. Its review of the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 is well overdue, emissions are rising across transport, agriculture, industry and waste, while logging and burning of our mighty forest carbon banks is accelerating.
This is about our children and the Tasmania we pass on to them. We can be a beacon of sustainability to the nation and the world, and drive clean, green jobs’ growth in the process.
Government needs to work with industry and agriculture to bring down rising emissions. It needs to rapidly electrify our transport system. It absolutely must better manage the State’s surface and ground water supplies, and ensure we get better at retaining water in the landscape as the climate continues to heat and bushfires become more prevalent.
We need to see much better adaptation planning being driven by government in partnership with industry and the Tasmanian people.
Critically, the Gutwein Government is now on notice from the IPCC that deforestation is a crime against the climate and future generations.
Tasmania’s greatest gift to the world is its forests. Our forests are what gives us a positive emissions profile, but they are being felled apace. Logging and burning them for woodchips that are sent to China for peanuts is unjustifiable on every level.
If the Premier wants to be taken seriously in his role at Minister for Climate Change, he needs to find the courage to end deforestation caused by a native forest logging industry which for too long has been coddled and propped up by successive major party governments.
The IPCC report is a Code Red for Tasmania too. We aren’t immune and we can’t pretend nothing we do will make a difference.
The scientists are clear, every tonne of C02 that doesn’t go in to the atmosphere makes a difference for the future.
We have an opportunity to make a real difference and to show leadership. This is urgent and we must act now.