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We need a Climate Change Act - now

The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) has called for the Northern Territory Government to develop a Climate Change Act, saying that it welcomed the aspirations in the Climate Change Response: Towards 2050 but more detail, urgency and enforceability was needed.

In a submission to the NT Government, ALEC wrote that the Response “reads like a business innovation and industry marketing ploy”, and encouraged the Government to move beyond reliance on private enterprise and the market to solve the climate crisis.

ALEC urged the Government to legislate emissions targets to hold all sectors of the economy to account, and to develop a clear and well-funded implementation plan. Currently the Response focuses on the energy industry, but ALEC wants to see this broadened and scrutiny applied to supposed ‘carbon neutral’ sectors.

The Arid Lands Environment Centre finds the NT Government’s enthusiasm for fracked gas deeply incompatible with the Response’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the Government on their climate change policy, but we cannot get behind any plan that promotes the growth of industry and manufacturing fueled by fracked gas. It is clear that a choice needs to be made between decarbonising the economy or supporting the development of the polluting unconventional gas industry, which contributes hugely to global heating” said ALEC Policy Officer Alex Read.

The Submission called for urgent action, saying that the climate emergency is already hitting people in the NT, and concrete climate mitigation and adaptation strategies are necessary to avoid further suffering.

“The people of Central Australia have already experienced 1.5°C rise in temperatures, and we’re living through the hottest summers on record and water scarcity - not to mention volatile weather in the Top End,” said Alex Read.

“Climate change is not a flashy investment opportunity. We need radical and progressive action now in order to protect the most vulnerable in our community.”

ALEC also strongly recommended putting climate justice front and centre, and emphasised the necessity for real engagement with Indigenous communities on climate issues, land management and adaptation techniques.

“The Response has some good aims, but the extent to which it glosses over the very real impacts of climate change suggests the NT government is in denial about the scale of the crisis. We need the NTG to collaborate, to listen to communities demanding action to protect their futures, and commit to concrete strategies,” said Alex Read.

Read ALEC’s submission here.

Download the Climate Change Response here.

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