CALL TO LEADERS – ACT NOW ON CLIMATE
It is positive that the Northern Territory Government supports a target of net zero emissions by 2050, however we are concerned that without a Climate Change Act, they are purely aspirational and not legally binding.
There is currently nothing to prevent a new government or a new leader scrapping or reducing these targets at the stroke of a pen.
Enshrining them in legislation makes it much harder for a future government to crab-walk away from these commitments to Territorians.
Legislating these targets would also provide greater certainty for clean-energy investors, and for vulnerable communities already feeling the frontline impacts of climate change.
Extreme heat days over 35 degrees, changing rainfall patterns, health impacts, energy poverty, food insecurity, service disruptions, species loss and ecosystem damage are not distant threats – they are urgent challenges that demand a response from our leaders, now.
Aboriginal people, particularly those living in bush communities, are vulnerable to climate change as life gets hotter and harder across our regions. These impacts are being experienced with a less than 1 degree increase in average global temperatures, yet the world is on track for significantly greater warming within our lifetimes.
Here’s where we currently stand on climate in the Northern Territory:
- The NT does not currently have a robust legislative framework for climate action
- The NT currently produces 3% of Australian emissions, with only 1% of the population
- NT emissions have risen 28% over the last 10 years
- The Government has provided $94 million in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry over ten years
- The recent draft Offsets Policy contains no enforceable mechanisms to ensure that polluting companies offset massive amounts of emissions from fracking
- Fracking the Beetaloo Basin could increase Australia’s total emissions by up to 22 per cent - fuelling climate disaster
To protect our shared future, we call on the NT Government to introduce a Climate Change Act that will:
- Legislate enforceable emissions-reduction targets including interim targets across all sectors and clear mechanisms of accountability.
- Impose clear obligations on decision makers to consider climate change.
- Establish a framework for monitoring, reporting and verifying mitigation strategies.
- Create an independent, expert advisory body to provide regular advice on climate change research and information as it develops.
- Embed the requirement for detailed regional adaptation planning based on climate change risks and impacts to prepare our communities for the changes and challenges ahead.
- Be appropriately resourced in its implementation to help communities adapt and facilitate a just transition to a clean energy economy –prioritising communities most vulnerable to climate impacts, in particular remote Aboriginal communities and low-income households, centring justice at the heart of all climate solutions and ensuring no Territorian is left behind.
A clean, decarbonised economy powered by renewable energy is incompatible with a subsidised gas industry. The NT Government continues to prop up polluting gas companies with tax-payer funded subsidises. This paradox undermines our entire climate response.
Aboriginal people have cared sustainably for country for tens of thousands of years and they continue to do so. Recognition and promotion of Indigenous leadership, knowledge, sovereignty and self-determination must be central to our climate change response.
Acting now on climate change now creates the opportunity for transformational change across all sectors of our society and economy, and ensures we act to protect what we love about Central Australia, and the Northern Territory.
A Climate Change Act will provide the clear and comprehensive framework we need to guide government decision-making in the best interests of current and future generations, and send a clear signal to industry and investors that the Northern Territory Government is serious about a clean energy, sustainable future.
ALEC will continue to lead in the development of climate policy while galvanising community action to ensure that the Northern Territory remains a vibrant and viable place to live. We pledge to work closely with the NT Government towards a low carbon future, but we will not accept that shale gas fracking has a role in this future.