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Speech on Net Zero by 2050

On Tuesday 12 October 2021, I gave a speech about Labor's Net Zero by 2050 target, why it's not enough, and why the major parties need to do more if they want to be taken seriously on climate. 

You can read the full speech below, or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

God, the enthusiasm for this debate is overwhelming, isn't it! These are strange times when the Courier-Mail and all of the Murdoch press come out and get behind renewables. I honestly cannot believe that we are watching a fight about who is better on climate between the two parties that both support new coalmines, that both support Adani, that both support opening up the Galilee Basin, that both support new fracking across Queensland and that both oppose the phasing out of coal and gas.

Of course we support net zero emissions by 2050, but it is simply not enough. I have heard speakers on both sides refer to how they accept the science, but the science is telling us, with crystal clarity, that net zero by 2050 is not enough. 2050 targets are a distraction from what we need to do right now and how we need to drive down emissions immediately. Net zero by 2050 is absolutely a death sentence for the reef. No-one in here can pretend that it is otherwise. What we actually need is 100 per cent renewables by 2030, rather than this 50 per cent target; a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels; and net zero emissions by five years later, in 2035. This is what the science is telling us.

When we compare ourselves with other states that have an emissions reduction target, we see that Queensland Labor's is now the worst. It is embarrassing. Queensland Labor is being outclassed by the New South Wales Liberals and Nationals, who have a target of a 50 per cent emissions cut by 2030. The Business Council of Australia is saying a 46 per cent to 50 per cent cut by 2030. Victoria is saying a 45 per cent to 50 per cent cut by 2030. The South Australian Liberals are saying a 50 per cent cut by 2030. Yet we are still in here crying about 50 per cent renewables by 2050.
Based on the most recent data, as we have heard already, carbon pollution is higher now than when Labor took office back in 2015. We watch this government time and again refuse to shut down their coal-fired power stations. They are not on track to meet the 50 per cent renewables target by 2030. You can continue to put renewables on top of fossil fuels, but if you do not start closing the fossil fuel generators then emissions will not go down.

It is great that they are doing some work in hydrogen, but there is still no plan to get to 100 per cent renewables energy. After nearly six years of a Labor government, we are still just about last in terms of our targets. We cannot afford to persist with our coal-fired generation. We cannot afford to reopen the Callide C4 generator. We need to transition workers urgently—immediately. God help us if Clive Palmer is allowed to open up a new coal-fired power station here in Queensland.

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