InTouch : Climate change – a new economic age

When former Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett says the “time has come”, these days he’s talking about the need to tackle what he describes as the “biggest economic, social and environmental challenge of our time – dangerous climate change”.
Musician, conservationist and now Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Garrett spoke at NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development breakfast meeting last month – outlining his country’s responses to more carbon constrained world just as our own Emissions Trading Scheme passed into law. He noted that tinkering with such schemes was not particularly useful given that “providing certainty for business to accommodate, adjust, respond to and then grow through the architecture of trading scheme is essential”.
He said his own government is moving to implement comprehensive response to climate change based on: reducing emissions (by 60 percent on 2000 levels in 2050); working with other countries to develop an effective and equitable global solution; and to make preparations for the inevitable effect of climate change on Australia. Prior to its own legislation, scheduled for introduction in 2010, Australia is initiating energy efficiency encouragement programmes including rebates for solar hot water systems, “green loans”, and “solar cities” programme.
He said Australia will be working closely with vulnerable Pacific Island countries on building resilience. “We want to be working productively in international fora and we recognise that over the past decade New Zealand really did lot of the heavy lifting in terms of engagement with our South Pacific neighbours.”
We are, he said, on the cusp of new economic age. “A key point is that not only are there environmental benefits for sustainable development in the built environment but also significant economic and social benefits for both our nations.
“With bit of creativity, innovation and collaboration the monumental challenges of climate change can bring great opportunities.”

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