Transcript of Interview on Channel 7 News
with Ann Sanders
31 October 2006
ANN SANDERS: Shadow Environment Minister Anthony Albanese joins me now. Good morning, Minister.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, Ann.
ANN SANDERS: Where’s the government failing on climate change?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the first thing we have just seen again—the climate sceptics. These people are dinosaurs and they want to turn Parliament House into Jurassic Park.
Climate change is here right now. We’re seeing it with the drought. We’re seeing it with the decrease in rainfall in southern Australia. We’re seeing it with the increase in extreme weather events in the north. Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change and it is simply irresponsible for the government to be just frozen in time as the globe warms around it.
ANN SANDERS: Well, the government says Australia is one of the few countries that will actually meet emission targets despite not signing Kyoto. Why is Labor so keen to ratify the Kyoto Protocol?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the first point is that there’s an overnight report which suggests Australia won’t be able to meet our targets. But this report by Sir Nicholas Stern indicates three main points: one, is that you need an international agreement, and that international agreement is the Kyoto Protocol; secondly, that you need emissions trading—you need to have economic incentives for the move towards a carbon-constrained clean economy—and the third is that you need a massive injection, by using those economic incentives, to shift to renewable technology.
Now, the government at the moment is failing on all three fronts because it still remains in absolute denial about the greatest challenge facing the global community. They really do think the earth is flat.
ANN SANDERS: The Prime Minister says the Kyoto Protocol penalises Australia and the future is all about clean coal and nuclear power. Will Labor canvass alternative power solutions?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, Labor will have an emissions trading scheme which would provide an economic incentive to move to clean technology. We’d substantially increase the renewable energy target. We’d make sure that that investment was there. We have got specific programs to make every school in Australia a solar school; to have a green car built here in Australia so that we look at issues such as transport.
Climate change is such a threat to our economy as well as our environment that we need a whole-of-government approach. And the Howard government simply should admit that it got it wrong and reverse its current extraordinary position which, frankly, makes us an embarrassment to the world.
ANN SANDERS: Well, the Stern report includes the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and river flows into Sydney dropping by 15 per cent. How long do you think we have to act?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Stern report indicates that we have a maximum of 10 years to take strong action. If we don’t do that it may well be too late because of the time delay between carbon being emitted into the atmosphere and the impact that it has on our environment.
The good thing about the Stern report—and what the government misses—is that there are significant economic opportunities for those countries and businesses which are prepared to move forward in the future rather than just be stuck in the past.
ANN SANDERS: Shadow Environment Minister, Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for your time this morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to talk to you, Ann.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.