NSW Upper House calls on Government to pursue a 1.5 degree limit on global warming

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Greens MP Jan Barham has welcomed the Legislative Council’s support for a motion calling for legislation and action to ensure the state contributes to pursuing the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The Paris Agreement calls for international action to keep global warming well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. I congratulate the Government and all other parties for supporting the Greens’ motion, and it’s now essential that the state locks in action to lead the way to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement,” Ms Barham said.

“The Greens have a Climate Change Bill before the Parliament right now which would commit all NSW Governments, now and into the future, to put us on a trajectory to net zero emissions by 2040, consider the climate impacts in decisions across the whole of government, and provide for judicial review of any actions that would undermine climate action.

“The past two years have each been the hottest on record. The momentum for climate action is building, from the international agreement reached by 195 nations in Paris and in the local households and organisations supporting fossil fuel divestment and the uptake of clean energy.

“It’s time for the NSW Government to support the community and businesses who are working to play their part in limiting global warming, and to lock in the policies that will put the whole of our society on track to address climate change.”

Ms Barham’s motion noted not only the international agreement that was reached in Paris but the many commitments and actions made by sub-national governments, cities and corporations to support the aims of the Paris Agreement.

“States and territories around the world are crucial to delivering the action on climate change that is required to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius,” Ms Barham said.

“Already in 2016, Wales has passed legislation that commits to long-term emissions targets and putting sustainability front and centre in all government decision-making, and Victoria’s independent review of its climate legislation has made strong recommendations for emissions reduction targets and a Climate Charter.

“New South Wales can deliver strong climate action and the passage of this motion puts the onus on the Government to ensure that we do,” Ms Barham concluded

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

The Greens NSW Climate Change Bill

Motion by Jan Barham MLC as passed by the NSW Legislative Council, 25 February 2016

1. That this House notes that:
(a) on 12 December 2015, an agreement was adopted by consensus of the 195 nations, including Australia, who participated in the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change,
(b) the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to climate change by:
(i) holding the increase in global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,
(ii) increasing capacity for climate change adaptation and fostering climate resilience and low-emissions development, and
(iii) making finance flows consistent with the pathway toward low-emissions and climate-resilient development, and
(c) the Agreement will open for signature with a signing ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 April 2016 and will take effect when at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Agreement.

2. That this House notes that in addition to the agreement by nation states, the Paris Conference saw significant involvement from regional governments, cities and business organisations, including:
(a) the release of the first Disclosure Report of the Compact of States and Regions, which brings together 44 sub-national governments, including the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, who have committed to set emissions reduction targets and report their annual performance,
(b) the addition of 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement of sub-national governments to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, bringing the total number of signatories to 123 jurisdictions, and
(c) the announcement that 53 major global corporations, including BMW, Google and Coca-Cola, have joined the RE100 initiative and made commitments to source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy.

3. That this House notes that since the signing of the Paris Agreement there have been further commitments and actions from governments, businesses and individuals, including:
(a) the signing of the Paris Pledge for Action, a statement of support for the Paris Agreement and commitment to work to ensure the Agreement’s aims are met or exceeded, by more than 400 businesses, 120 investors, and 150 cities and regions representing 700 million people and $US11 trillion,
(b) the addition of four more signatories to the Under 2 MOU, including the US state of Massachusetts, the Colombian regional governments of Guainia and Guaviare, and Lower Austria, and
(c) the Welsh National Assembly’s passage on 2 February 2016 of the Environment (Wales) Bill, which sets long-term and interim targets for significant emissions reductions and provides that sustainable management of natural resources must be a core consideration in decision-making, and
(d) the completion of the Independent Review of the Climate Change Act 2010 in Victoria, which:
(i) took into consideration the Paris Agreement, the Victorian Government’s commitment to restore Victoria as a climate change leader and the increasing importance of sub-national governments and non-state actors in taking climate action, and
(ii) delivered 33 recommendations including setting a long-term emissions reduction target and enabling interim targets at five-yearly intervals, introducing a Charter of Climate Change Objectives and Principles that must be taken into account by the Government when preparing climate change strategies and in all plans, policies, programs and operational decisions across government, and providing broad standing for judicial review of administrative decisions that may have climate change impacts or risks.

4. That this House calls on the New South Wales Government to take action to support the aims of the Paris Agreement, including by implementing legislation and policies that will place New South Wales on a pathway to leadership in pursuing the aims of the Paris Agreement.