Climate Change

Climate change is the single greatest threat to the viability of ecological systems and human societies. Read the full policy.

(Adopted October 2014) 

Principles

The Queensland Greens believe that:

1. Climate Change is the single greatest threat to the viability of ecological systems and human societies at a local, national and global level. It is integrally linked to human induced increases in greenhouse gas emissions associated with urban, agricultural and industrial processes, transport, energy production and land use change.

2. The overwhelming scientific evidence on human-induced global warming demands that each state and nation substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and begin the transition to a low carbon and energy efficient economy.

3. Climate Change is already impacting Queensland, particularly with regard to rainfall patterns, more extreme weather patterns from droughts to cyclones, broader distribution of tropical diseases, species habitat movement and widespread destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

4. Australia has one of the highest per-capita Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission rates in the world and Queensland has the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emission rates in Australia. Queensland additionally contributes substantially and increasingly to global GHG emissions through its coal and gas exports.

5. Policies in response to the challenge of climate change and global warming will need to focus on transport, construction, housing, energy production, energy efficiency, land clearance, agricultural practices, manufacturing and export industries.

6. In a future of increasingly urgent imperatives for reducing GHG emissions globally, Queensland’s dependence on fossil fuels will make the state vulnerable to the inevitable global shift away from a carbon based economy. The costs of not responding in a timely manner will be immensely greater than capitalising on the state’s abundant renewable energy resources.

7. A safe climate will require a return to an atmospheric concentration of 350ppm or lower of greenhouse gases (and CO2 equivalents).

8. Early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will ultimately be fairer and more cost effective than delaying action.

9. The cost of creating an economy that supports a safe climate and adaptation to climate change must be distributed fairly.

10. Subsidies to the fossil fuel sector, including funding for research and development, should be transferred to the renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport sectors and to businesses and families as they adopt renewable energy sources.

11. Climate change policy should be based on the best available science.

12. Climate change should inform and frame all other policies.

Aims

The Queensland Greens will:

1. Set a target of net zero or net negative greenhouse gas emissions within a generation and ensure that reductions occur across all sectors, including energy, transport, industry, waste and land management.

2. In relation to energy intensive manufacturing and electricity generation:
a) Capture and storage (geo-sequestration): Oppose public funding of these technologies, and ensure that companies are financially responsible for the risks of carbon dioxide leakage.
b) Ensure the full impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal mines are properly assessed and appropriate reduction or offset conditions are imposed.

3. Provide payments and/or other incentives for farmers for their enforced retention of vegetation and to re-afforest degraded land as carbon sinks.

4. Assist the adoption of technologies, planning practices, product standards and economic incentives that promote energy efficiency and minimise the socio-economic impact of climate change GHG abatement strategies.

5. Encourage the installation of renewable energy generation infrastructure by agricultural producers, business owners, community groups and householders to feed electricity into the grid.

6. Seek an equitable transition to a net zero carbon economy through a range of market-based and regulatory mechanisms.

7. Use the Government's procurement policies to contribute to the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Facilitate research, development and commercialisation of sustainable alternative fuels.

9. Introduce a well-resourced and high capacity Climate Change Office with whole-of-government responsibility for the equally weighted priorities of mitigation, adaptation and climate change communication; policy, strategy and funding.

10. Develop a long-term State Energy Strategy including resource audits, transition planning and regulatory reform.

11. Develop a long-term, overarching State Climate Change Strategy including robust emissions reduction targets and taking into account mitigation and adaptation planning for each sector, transition planning and regulatory reform.

12. Apply the Polluter-pays principle to all major emitters of greenhouse gases.

13. Seek to make Queensland a leader in renewable energy and low carbon technology research, innovation and commercial development.

14. Require an equitable and progressive distribution of the costs of reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change.

15. Review emergency plans and disaster management preparedness in anticipation of more extreme weather events.

16. Support community engagement in emissions reduction actions, including household renewable technology options, energy efficiency measures, energy auditing and carbon offsetting programs.