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2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference - Glasgow

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Tags: Climate Change, Political Leadership

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, Glasgow has been a world event like no other. That conference has been determining the fate of the human species and all other species on earth. The outcome of Glasgow has been both grim and galvanising. It has been incredibly grim to see the failure of our political leaders make meaningful commitments for the action we need to take.

It has been incredibly grim to watch our appalling Primer Minister turn up with a 'planphlet', it has been described as, a 'scamphlet', basically a piece of paper no bigger than a couple of pages from a person who is a key advocate for the coal, gas and oil industries, which makes no meaningful commitments on behalf of Australians.

It has been, however, galvanising for civil society, for young people who have come together across the globe in enormous numbers to use the power of collective action and to understand that the failure of leaders at Glasgow is the space that they must step into. There is now no other space except for civil society action, except for financial market action, except for tariffs. These things will come.

They will come to Australia because we refuse to reject the fossil fuel industries and the power they still exert over us. It will come because the Labor and Liberal parties in Australia continue to be co opted to the trickle down donations that come to them and that silence them, even at the expense of their own children's futures. Silence them and shackle them, so that they are incapable of doing the things that scientists tell us we must do.

Right now, we are on track for 2.7 degrees of global warming. We can make a difference but not with the Liberal and Labor party policies that are on the table. Professor Nicholas Stern wrote the Stern Review in the United Kingdom in 2006. What a prescient document it was. He said recently:

Economic assessments of the climate crisis grossly undervalue the lives of young people and future generations

Economists have failed to take account of the immense risks and potential loss of life that will occur as a result of the climate crisis.

The economics profession had, he said:

Misunderstood the basics of discounting, the way in which economic models value future assets and lives compared with their value today.

It means, he said:

That economics has grossly undervalued the lives of young people and future generations, who are most at threat from the devastating impacts of climate change.

Discounting has been applied in such a way that it effectively discriminates by date of birth.

The Stern Review was criticised in 2006 for exaggerating the risks of the climate crisis. He said:

The idea that I was alarmist is just laughable in retrospect. We underestimated the dangers. The costs of inaction were very worrying 15 years ago, they are immensely worrying now.

Scientists, the evidence and the truth that they reveal to us have been continually dismissed, ridiculed, derided, comprehensively ignored by the Labor and Liberal parties. They have taken none of the meaningful action that has been pointed out to them time and again. They refuse to do it today. It is only the Greens who have ever taken a science based approach to targets for climate change. It is only the Greens who negotiated the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the $10 billion to funding incentives in the solar renewables' uptake. It is only the Greens that pushed for the Climate Change Authority, which was the Federal Statutory Authority, to feed advice to parliament to drive a carbon price, to find a third way as a circuit breaker when the Labor and Liberal parties refused to come to their senses.

The Greens chose scientists for that committee. When the Labor Party put up a bunch of lobby inside hacks, it was the Greens who made sure that Professor Will Steffen and Ross Darno were on that committee.

The Clean Energy Finance Commission, in the first year, cut 10 million tonnes of carbon. We would have, at this point in time, have cut 256 million tonnes of carbons if the Liberals, under Tony Abbott, had not cut the price on carbon. If we had kept the price on pollution that the Greens negotiated when we were in the federal government, at this point in time, we would have met the Liberals so called 2030 target now.

That target would have been met today and we would have more reliable and clean energy by 2020, we would have tariffs put on us. I want to table these documents that I have given to members.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Has the member circulated the documents?

Dr WOODRUFF - I have. I did that two weeks ago.

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