Jun 5, 2006

Howard Government has no agenda for big environmental challenges

Howard Government has no agenda for big environmental challenges

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

5 June 2006

On World Environment Day today we should reflect on Australia’s environmental challenges and commit to creating a healthier environment for future generations.

World Environment Day is a day for the Howard Government to commit to national leadership on the environment.

There is no greater environmental challenge than climate change and every other environmental issue will be affected by climate change.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by a disastrous 25.1% between 1990 and 2004, once land use changes are excluded (Australian Greenhouse office).

By failing to take action to avoid dangerous climate change, the Howard Government has mortgaged Australia’s future. Our children and grandchildren will be left with a hefty bill to adjust to increased severe weather, rising sea levels and water shortages caused by climate change.

John Howard has recently dusted off old Fraser Government plans for nuclear reactors so he can pretend he’s taking action on climate change.

Yesterday, the Howard Government’s secret short-list of 14 Australian sites for a nuclear reactor was revealed.

Today, the chief executive of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation said in order for Australia to have a viable nuclear power industry, four or five nuclear power plants would have to be built near major cities or towns on the east coast.

If John Howard thinks nuclear energy is “inevitable” he should say where he’ll put the nuclear reactors.

Communities have a right to be alert and alarmed at the Howard Government’s future plans for nuclear reactors and waste dumps at unnamed sites.

There’s nothing new about a nuclear debate. What’s new is the Prime Minister’s assertion we can have a hypothetical debate without naming sites for a reactor.

On the United Nations World Environment Day, the Howard Government should ratify the Kyoto Protocol and commit to energy efficiency and safe, clean energy to ensure significant cuts in Australia’s greenhouse pollution.