Climate Emergency declared in the ACT: an Australian first for states and territories


ACT Greens leader and Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury moved in the Assembly calling on the major parties to “acknowledge that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent actions across all levels of Government.”

As a result, “the climate emergency status means that the Government needs to prioritise climate action. From now on, every time the Government makes a decision we will ask ourselves: what does this decision mean for climate change, for emissions, and for the climate crisis we need to avert? If it is not consistent with reducing emissions, then we need to think again,” Mr Rattenbury said today.

“As the recent student climate strikers made clear, we must act as though our house is on fire—because it is.

“Weather here in Canberra is becoming more extreme. We're approaching dangerous environmental tipping points. Animals are becoming extinct. The climate is warming. No one aged under the age of 40 has lived in a year with global average temperatures below those of last century.

“We must act now or the environmental, social and economic results of climate change will become increasingly perilous.

“Yet despite the realities of our climate changing, there are those up on the Hill that say it cannot be done.

“They will say this, despite the fact that they will soon be working in a building – Parliament House – that will be entirely powered by clean, green, renewable energy.

The motion also “condemn(ed) the Federal Government for its continued failure to enact effective climate change policy”.

Only days out from the Federal election, Greens candidate for the new seat of Canberra, Tim Hollo, today reaffirmed the importance of the Federal Government acknowledging the climate emergency—and acting accordingly.

“We desperately need the next parliament to put us on track to tackle the climate emergency, and people across the community who I speak to are impatient for real action,” Mr Hollo said today.

“If you don’t have a plan to phase out coal, then you don’t have a plan for climate change. At the Federal level, tragically neither the Liberals nor Labor understand this yet. They are still refusing to rule out potentially catastrophic environmental disasters, like the Adani mine in Queensland. The only way to get science-based action is to elect enough Greens to pull the next Federal government in the right direction,” Mr Hollo added.

“The best way for the community to ensure that Australia acts with seriousness on the climate emergency is to elect more Greens to both houses, to work constructively and with determination with the next government to pull them in the right direction,” Dr Penny Kyburz, Greens candidate the ACT in the Senate, said today.

"What's happening in the ACT is proof that when you elect Greens, you get climate advocates who pull the other parties in the right direction and get results."