NSW Government on Climate Change Bill: Low on ambition, high on pessimism, and unwilling to take responsibility

Greens MP Jan Barham has said the NSW Government’s opposition to legislation that would lock in sensible climate action shows their rhetoric fails to match their

“The Climate Change Bill I introduced to the NSW Parliament would hold the current and future NSW Governments accountable for delivering action to reduce emissions and prepare for climate change across the whole of government.

“The Baird Government’s alarmist claims in opposing the Bill show that despite all their talk about wanting to be a leader in renewable energy, they’re not serious about doing what’s necessary to ensure the future wellbeing and success of this state,” Ms Barham said.

The Greens’ legislation would mandate a target of net-zero emissions by 2040, with every Government required to produce four-year plans for emissions reductions and climate change adaptation. Governments would be accountable for following through on their plans through annual reporting and the possibility of legal proceedings against decisions that would decrease the state’s ability to meet its targets.

“In defending its record on climate change, the Government pointed to its Energy Savings Scheme, which they say will deliver emissions reductions of 1.9 million tonnes by 2020. That’s less than 1.5% of the state’s annual emissions. They’re tinkering around the edges when we need dedicated action across the whole of government to drive the transition to a clean society and economy,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham accused the Government of failing to adequately consider the risks and costs facing the state without significant emissions reductions starting immediately.

“On the same day that a new Climate Council report told us that the fire season has extended by almost 19% since 1979 and that the number of professional firefighters would need to double by 2030 to meet demand, the Government tried to claim that it was the Greens’ legislation that would create problems for emergency services.

“We’re capable of making the changes needed to limit global warming and prepare for the impacts of climate change, and by acting now New South Wales would be seizing the opportunity to establish new jobs and industries while reducing the future costs and risks. The Greens’ RenewAustralia plan shows how Australia can reach 90% renewables by 2030, and we could take the lead in this state.

“It’s unfortunate that Mike Baird’s Government shows the same lack of political will as his federal counterparts. Instead of seizing the opportunity and leading with ambition, he has fallen back on the same scare tactics and wants to avoid responsibility for addressing climate change,” Ms Barham concluded.