NSW Government fails future generations by ignoring climate change and housing crisis

“A forecast that ignores the major threats to the wellbeing of future generations, climate change and the crisis in affordable housing, is irresponsible” said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Climate Change and Housing.

“It’s beyond negligent for the NSW Government to release an Intergenerational Report that fails to provide a plan for action to limit global warming and how NSW is preparing for the increasing impacts of climate change in the coming decades”.

“This report makes the nonsensical prediction that mining royalties and coal prices will continue rising through to 2056[1], but makes no mention of renewable energy and how we must transform our society.”

“The Government’s so-called vision of the future is blinkered to the most serious risks and without a plan for capitalising on the opportunities for clean energy and adaptation.”

The NSW Government’s response to affordable housing is confined to forecasting that 45,000 new homes will be built each year up until 2056, despite average new dwelling numbers hovering around 30,000 per year over the past 15 years.

“Increasing supply does not automatically translate to more affordable housing. NSW needs to adopt affordable housing targets if it is to address the chronic problem of housing stress across the state.”

“The Government has also admitted that it is increasingly dependent on stamp duty for revenue. As long as the Government is reliant on stamp duty windfalls to balance its budget, it will be responsible for fuelling speculative investment in housing and driving up house prices.”

“With the number of people aged 65 and over forecast to comprise 25% of the population by 2056, affordable and accessible housing must be increased to meet rising demand because most older people will be on low incomes.”

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

Complete NSW Intergenerational Report 2016 can be found here: http://www.treasury.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/128144/Intergenerational_Report_2016_-_full_report.pdf

[1] p.75

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.

Climate Action NSW

Baby turtles in the sand

Governments are failing our community on climate change. It’s essential that we care for the wellbeing of future generations and protect our communities and the environment. If we don’t address global warming and its impact on our climate, we’ll leave an unsafe environment and a compromised quality of life as consequences of our inaction.

The Greens are committed to strong action on climate change. We need communities, businesses and all levels of government – federal, state and local – to play their part. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation that would lock in mandatory targets to ensure NSW achieves net zero emissions by 2040, require all government agencies to plan for how we will reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, and allow court proceedings to hold the government accountable for decisions that undermine climate action.

You can lend your support by visiting the Climate Action NSW website and pledging your Commitment to Climate Action.

Paris Climate Agreement: New South Wales must enact legislation committing to 1.5 degree limit on warming

Greens MP Jan Barham has welcomed the adoption of strong goals to limit global warming at the United Nations conference in Paris and called on the NSW Government and other parties to support climate change legislation that has already been tabled in Parliament by the Greens.

“Premier Baird and Environment Minister Speakman can no longer sit on the sideline and avoid the issue of climate change. They need to take decisive, strong and transparent action,” Ms Barham said.

“The international agreement to attempt to limits global warming to 1.5 degrees and ensure warming is well below 2 degrees puts the onus onto governments at every level to play their part. The UN conference has recognised that developed countries must lead the way, and it’s clear that the Australian Government’s targets and policies are inadequate.

“New South Wales has the capacity to start a rapid transition to clean energy and reduced emissions across our society and all sectors of the economy.

“Now that there is a clear international commitment to strive for a 1.5 degree limit on warming, we need to lock in action by adopting a legislated target to reach net zero emissions by 2040 and ensuring all government agencies are working with communities and industry to plan the transition that will get us there.

“The Greens have a Bill before the NSW Upper House that would set in place a target of net zero by 2040, require governments to develop the plans for emissions reductions and climate change adaptation, and hold every government agency accountable by giving the public the capacity to initiate legal proceedings against any policies that are contrary to the plans for climate action.

“The Paris Agreement has also recognised the need for governments to address the full range of impacts of global warming, including on health, agriculture, biodiversity and emergency management.

“The community has the right to expect elected governments to be transparent and accountable about how they address their duty of care to current and future generations.

“When Parliament resumes next February, every party should show they’re serious about fulfilling this global commitment by supporting our strong and sensible framework for climate action consistent with aiming for a 1.5 degree limit on global warming.

“The global momentum for action is growing and with an agreement to review progress every 5 years it will only become stronger. Any Government or political party that doesn’t see the writing on the wall for fossil fuels, provide a plan to transition to clean energy and put an end to new coal mining will be undermining our state’s position in the future global economy as well as harming efforts to address climate change.

“This global agreement wouldn’t have happened without the strong movement of activists, campaigners and a growing community movement working for change, by calling on governments and businesses to give up on fossil fuels and embrace the opportunity to transform our society and create new, sustainable industries.

“The Paris Agreement marks the beginning of a new phase in the campaign for climate action, and now the NSW Government must respond with support for genuine efforts and change in our state,” Ms Barham said.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

The Greens’ NSW Climate Change Bill

South Australia’s net zero ambition is an example New South Wales should outdo

NSW Greens MP Jan Barham has welcomed the South Australian Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 and has called on all parties in NSW to support ambition and accountability to address climate change.

“States and territories can lead the way on climate action, and with the federal government holding to inadequate targets it’s important that they do,” Ms Barham said.

“I commend the South Australian Government for commissioning the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel’s report, and for taking on board the clear advice that we can and must transform to a zero emissions society in the next few decades.

“New South Wales needs similar ambition and commitment. The Climate Change Bill that I’ve introduced into Parliament would mandate a target of net zero emissions by 2040, and put in place the planning framework and legal accountability to ensure current and future governments keep us on target.”

Ms Barham noted that the Baird Government had failed to show leadership or take responsibility for climate action.

“Unfortunately the Premier didn’t lodge the submission his environment department had prepared calling for stronger federal targets for post-2020 emissions reductions. The NSW Government has also been quick to talk down the possibility that the state could meet requirements the Greens’ legislation would set in place.

“Will NSW Labor show the same commitment to lock in strong climate action as their South Australian counterparts?” Ms Barham asked.

“Climate science has made clear for decades that we need to limit global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions rapidly. Experts in energy and other sectors have shown that the transformation is not only possible, but that the benefits of acting early are great and the failure to act brings with it significant risks and costs.

“It’s disappointing that the NSW Government continues following the pessimistic line pushed by vested interests rather than recognising the capacity and power of our people and industries to act.

“The United Nations conference in Paris is just days away and every community, organisation and government at every level should be contributing to global action. This isn’t just a matter for the Australian Government, especially when their actions have undermined international efforts. At state level, every party should be backing sensible emissions targets and legislation to deliver on climate action,” Ms Barham concluded.


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.


Greens’ Climate Change Bill is a chance for Baird to show leadership ahead of Paris

Climate change legislation introduced into NSW Parliament today challenges the NSW Premier to show the climate leadership that is lacking in Australian politics, says the Greens’ Jan Barham MLC.

“I’ve introduced legislation that would commit current and future governments in New South Wales to strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change,” Ms Barham said.

The Greens’ Climate Change Bill 2015 sets an emissions reduction target of net zero emissions by 2040, consistent with the level of action needed to limit global warming and avoid the most dangerous impacts.

The legislation requires governments to develop four-year plans for emissions reductions and climate change adaptation, and ensures that every department and council takes action consistent with addressing climate change, with legal action possible to prevent decisions and actions that would undermine the state’s action on climate change.

“This legislation is about the fundamental issue of getting all parties to agree that every government – current and future; federal, state and local – has a responsibility to their citizens and to future generations to address climate change,” Ms Barham said.

“Mike Baird can change the conversation by acknowledging that our state can make the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a zero emissions future, consistent with international agreements and the scientific evidence.”

Ms Barham also noted that a NSW Government submission to the federal consultation on post-2020 emissions targets, obtained under freedom of information laws, showed the importance of addressing climate change for the future of the state.

“The NSW Government’s own analysis recognised that without significant emissions cuts, climate change will have very significant impacts on farming, tourism, on communities across the state and on human health and emergency services.

“Despite knowing about the growing risks of climate change for more than 25 years, too many governments have squandered their opportunities to act. Continuing with weak national targets will increase the threat to future generations unless the states take responsibility to act now.

“Malcolm Turnbull has committed to maintain the weak and ineffective policies of his predecessor. As it stands, Australia will be seen as a developed country that does not have the courage to make decisions in the best interests of its citizens.

“Around the world, sub-national governments are stepping up to make a significant contribution on climate change and a Compact of States and Regions has been established. This Bill presents the opportunity for innovation, and to ensure the health and wellbeing of the environment and the people as we prepare for an uncertain future.

“It is the fundamental responsibility of Government to prepare for threats to the welfare of their citizens. I’m calling on all parties to support this legislation that will lock in a plan for meeting that responsibility,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891