Climate debate heating up
- Georgia Fullerton
- Thursday, 3 May 2012
Australia’s Climate Change strategy was on the minds of politicians and public figures at Sydney’s Parliament House last Friday, April 27.
‘Beyond The Carbon Price’ saw speeches including former Liberal leader John Hewson, Australian Council of Trade Unions President Ged Kearney and ALP National President Jenny McAllister.
The night opened the 2012 Climate Action Summit weekend.
Mr Hewson said “I think responding appropriately to climate change is the single most important moral issue of this century”
“It’s also a significant economic, social and political issue, about which there should be a much greater sense of urgency.”
Mr Hewson spoke to advocate the transformation of global economies to the concept of renewable energy.
“In the late 90s we started a group called the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development,” Mr Hewson said.
“The idea was to try and educate the business community about the tremendous business opportunities that would arise given an appropriate response to climate change.”
Mr Hewson has demonstrated alternative technologies to businesses: “The first was recycling household garbage, the second was building energy efficient lightbulbs and the third was building the largest bio-diesel plant in Singapore”
“We brought Al Gore to Australia about eight years ago, he gave a speech in this country which we encouraged him to turn into the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.”
Australian Council Of Trade Unions President, Ged Kearney, believes renewable energy programs have potential to create thousands of jobs: “already workers and their families are experiencing the consequences of insufficient action on climate change.” Ms Kearney said.
“It would be incorrect for us to assume that it is just workers in agriculture who are affected, more extreme weather events like the floods in Thailand have affected all workers.”
The 2008 United Nations Development Report indicated 262 million people were affected by climate related disasters annually.
“Australia is well placed to play a progressive leadership role in international negotiations. I find it an extraordinary argument to say that we should not lead the way” Ms Kearney said.
The annual Climate Action Summit has been running since 2009.
“Right across Australia, businesses that use low carbon technologies will for the first time be rewarded as their offering becomes relatively less expensive than offerings of their competitors” ALP National President, Jenny McAllister said.
“The introduction of a carbon price in Australia has been incredibly hard fought, it had taken a very long time to build the case for urgent action on climate change.”
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