ABC Online, Posted 12 May 2009
- Audio: Extended interview: Simon Corbell speaks with 666 presenter Alex Sloan (ABC News)
The ACT Government has set an ambitious goal to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in the Territory but it will not say when it hopes to reach the target.
The plan involves cutting down on fossil fuels, reducing overall energy use and offsetting remaining emissions by planting more trees.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell has not put a price on the the target but he says the cost of inaction would be great.
"We need to say what future we want for our city and our future should be zero net emissions in terms of greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
"That's the target and that helps influence and drive policy change and changes in infrastructure that will help achieve it."
Mr Corbell says it will not be achieved in the short term.
"It won't be easy," he said.
"But it should be the vision for which we all strive to achieve and it will help inform the development of the Government's policies to tackle climate change in the coming months and years ahead."
The Greens have welcomed the target but says the Government needs to outline a plan for implementing it.
Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says at this stage it is inspirational.
"It doesn't have a timeline, it doesn't have programs sufficient to achieve it, so it is inspirational at this stage," she said.
Ms Le Couteur says funding is needed to implement programs like the 'Switch your thinking' initiative.
"We think that's a good program but it needs to be more than just a website," she said.
"It needs to be actual people on the ground helping people change."
She says a ban on the installation of electric hot water systems would be one way to help reach the target.
"It's the case in South Australia, it's the case in WA, it's the case in Queensland and I've introduced a bill in the last Assembly to make it the case in the ACT as well," she said.
"I'm hopeful the ACT Government will support that because hot water is an area that creates 3 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions."