State of the Climate 2022 report launch at CSIRO, Black Mountain, Canberra

State of the Climate 2022 Report; Climate Change; National Reconstruction Fund. 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND WATER: Thanks so much. It’s such a pleasure to be here today at the CSIRO with our friends from the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology to launch the State of the Climate 2022 report. This is the seventh in a series of reports about climate in Australia and it shows what we already knew, to some degree – that extreme weather events are getting worse, our country is getting hotter and dryer, and when it does rain, the rain is more extreme. 

This report is important because it helps us plan for the future. It helps farmers, emergency services, health services and others make sure that Australia is ready for the impact of the changing climate. 

It is also important because it is another call to action to remind us how important it is that Australia combines with international friends and neighbours to ensure real action to mitigate against the worst of climate change. 

Just recently, our Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen returned from the COP27 meeting in Egypt where some countries tried to water down global targets to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees. 

Of course, it is absolutely vital that we continue to aim for that 1.5 degree maximum temperature increase globally, and it is also vital that we take action domestically to be part of meeting that target. 

We are doing that as a government. We have set emissions reduction targets and we have legislated for them. We are working through programs like making electric vehicles cheaper and easier to buy. We’ve got a target of 82 per cent renewable energy into our energy grid for 2030. All of these things will help Australia play its part in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. 

I’m going to hand now to my colleague Mr Ed Husic to make a few additional comments. 

ED HUSIC, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE: Thank you, Tanya, and thank you to our friends at the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. 

It is difficult reading, in large part, seeing the longer-term trend lines about what we’re witnessing with respect to the behaviour of the climate. 

As has been remarked by other people, parents don’t leave the climate to their children; they borrow it from them. This gives us a new perspective to think about the types of things we can do to make a difference. 

The urgency of the response to climate change, the fight in terms of the climate change we’re experiencing as has been detailed in the report indicates that we do need a national effort working across industry, academia and other areas – particularly government – and the leadership role the government plays. 

Unfortunately, [until now] the fight against climate change has not been a fight to land a response. It’s been a fight within the rooms of the former government that not only, if I may say, fought against the nature of the response but whether or not they should respond at all. 

This is a government that believes we should respond and that we have a chance to work together to be able to deliver an effective response to some of these issues – in particular, generating energy in much more efficient ways; looking at different sources of energy for processes needed by industry, in particular; and thinking through the application of that new technology; and being able to potentially deliver it in a much cheaper way too. 

These are the types of things where we combine the work of our world-leading talented people in the science and research community, commercialising it and applying it – very important. 

And we must also look at other things too, that include better use of the resources we have, not just having less of a carbon footprint, but a much more efficient use of those resources. 

[This includes] commercialisation of some of those ideas and the application within industry, these are some of the things we’re applying in our National Reconstruction Fund where we have dedicated, in particular, within our $15 billion fund, up to $3 billion looking at how we can promote the manufacture onshore of renewables, low emissions technology and also work with industry to change the way that they operate to improve their efficiency, leave less of a climate impact and be able to, as a result, create economic opportunity and jobs for Australians in the response to climate change. 

And, as I said, ensuring that the future we borrow off our children can be left intact and in some cases our intention should be to leave it better.