Labor believes that human activities are causing climate change and that we all have a role to play in mitigating its effects.
As an island, we are particularly susceptible to sea level rise and the effects of storm surges.
We are familiar with the devastating effect of bushfire on both the built and natural environment, with catastrophic events likely to become more frequent.
Agriculture – one of our most important economic sectors – is likely to experience both positive and negative effects of a warming climate, which all need to be managed.
What’s the issue?
Our understanding of the causes of climate change has progressed significantly however we cannot stop here: today’s pressing challenge is to explore and forecast the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events and provide effective responses to it.
Despite Tasmania’s obvious strengths in renewable energy and marine and Antarctic research, the state is suffering from a lack of policy commitment from the State Liberal Government.
Like their colleagues in Canberra, the State Liberals have been captured by extreme right wing elements in the party and want to pretend that climate change does not exist.
Not only does this leave Tasmania exposed to the risks of climate change, it prevents the state from harnessing the economic and social advantages that could come from being an early adapter to climate change. This includes investment in renewable energy and innovation in agriculture.
Who’s Labor talking to?
Labor recognises the need to take action on climate change while limiting economic impacts. As such, we will continue to consult widely across the community, including with major industry to ensure policy responses are balanced and effective.
What will Labor do?
Labor recognises the importance of leadership in addressing climate change which is why we will restore a Minister for Climate Change to work across departments to ensure that Tasmania has a coordinated response to the changing climate and extreme weather events.
We need to assist our communities and businesses to adapt to the risks presented by climate hazards. That is why a Labor Government will direct the Tasmanian Climate Change Office to develop a comprehensive climate adaptation plan in collaboration with our scientific and business community, taking into consideration climate hazards such as bushfires, the recent energy crisis and the disease problems experienced by our marine aquaculture industries.
A Labor Government would undertake a thorough risk analysis across the primary industries sector.
Tasmania currently has a legislated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, which has already been met.
The Tasmanian Government has committed to amending the Climate Change State Action Act 2008 to have a net zero emissions reduction target by 2050.
Labor believes that we can aim higher, with a net zero emissions reduction target by 2035. By working towards a target of net zero emissions by 2035, Tasmania can demonstrate its leadership in emissions reduction and potentially become an emissions sink for the rest of the country.
In order to achieve this goal we will work collaboratively with our major emitters to identify abatement opportunities and support them to reduce their emissions building on the work being undertaken by Sustainable Living Tasmania through the Climate Solutions project.