Nick McKim’s speech at the World Environment Day Celebrations on Saturday 5th June, 2010

Post date: Mar 25, 2010 4:05:32 AM

Here is an aural transcript of Nick McKim’s speech from notes taken at the World Environment Day Celebration on Saturday 5th June, 2010 at Franklin Square, Hobart, courtesy of Alice Graham. (while best efforts have been made, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed).

Nick McKim is Tasmanian Greens Leader, Minister for Climate Change, Sustainable Transport and Alternative Energy (among other ministerial portfolios).

"I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners, Australian Greens Senator, Christine Milne and other elected Greens: Helen Burnett, Bill Harvey and Liz Smith. I’m very proud to stand here, Alice is right, I’m the first Minister for Climate Change in Tasmania, a Green minister, an acknowledgment of the Greens lead in the climate change fight in political terms. It is reasonable to say that the creation of a climate change portfolio is acknowledgment that this government is very focused on climate as an issue as part of a global response to climate change.

Action to address climate change needs to happen at all levels. Individuals, households, communities, the business sector and governments’ all have a role to play that is very important to the global level. Climate change is the challenge. If we are to resolve this, it needs collaborative effort from a local, right up to a global level. Copenhagen was a big disappointment. Globally, governments are not doing enough. We need to be aware of the broader picture, aware of what we can do to keep pressure on governments, especially adaptation. We will still face some impacts of climate change and have a real need to adapt to the serious impacts.

Local government has a crucial role to play in local issues such as sea level rise and the erosion of coastlines. The state government already has carbon emission reduction targets of 60% on 1990 levels by 2020. This is not strong enough. It is too far away for a framework yet, however we have a report back on interim targets and the Wedges Analysis on Climate Change. The Department of Premier and Cabinet website will make the government’s Climate Change Framework publicly available immediately after it has been completed. As this information is of interest to the community, it will go public as soon as possible. We can then have a discussion on the way forward for Tasmania.

Emission intensive industries need to start using renewable energy. Our forests have a crucial role as carbon sinks. We need to better understand how much carbon forests store. We need a 100% renewable electricity state, stop importing coal power and contain the economic benefit for Tasmania. It is economically more viable not to log forests, this is my interest.

The key theme of World Environment Day this year is biodiversity loss. A healthy environment underpins the health of our families, communities and economy. Climate change and environmental biodiversity loss are intrinsically linked. As we move towards public policy issues, biodiversity loss is the other environmental crisis that will impact on us significantly if we don’t get on top of it. We must reduce carbon dioxide emissions now and stop treating the planet as a giant dumping ground with infinite resources. We need to respect our climate and Earth’s natural processes.

As the Minister for Sustainable Transport and Alternative Energy, I am committed to improving public transport. Tasmania lags behind Australia, which lags behind the world. Passenger transport has a role to play as a solution.

Our presence at events like this sends a clear message to politicians and governments that we need to do better to protect the planet that sustains us. Thanks to Climate Action Hobart for organising this and the fabulous green statues. Thanks for coming and showing how important it is for you that Christine and I keep taking action on the issues of climate change and sustainability."