I'm in love with Peter Garrett SMH.com.au Garrett calls for debate on nuclear energy By Stephanie Peatling April 7, 2005 Page Tools Email to a friend Printer format A climate-change levy, national energy-efficiency standards for buildings and an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target should be adopted by the Labor Party to strengthen its existing climate change policies, MP Peter Garrett said last night. There should be also be a debate about the pros and cons of nuclear energy, the former rock singer and head of the Australian Conservation Foundation said, though he remained unconvinced it was a safe alternative. "The advent of climate change and the likelihood of increasing global warming means this issue is one of the most critical we face," Mr Garrett, the Labor member for Kingsford Smith, told a Sydney Institute forum. "It's time scale is long [and] its impact as vast as the oceans that are already warming," he said. Mr Garrett said Labor should adopt a greenhouse gas reduction target of 60 per cent - the level many scientists say the gases must drop if the most severe effects of global warming are to be avoided - by 2050. Britain has already committed itself to the target. It also introduced a climate change levy for large energy users in 1999. Generous discounts are offered if users voluntarily agree to meet energy efficiency targets. "I'm not a technical expert on these issues, merely saying we should examine and consider the options closely," Mr Garrett said. Although nuclear energy was starting to be promoted as a low-emission form of energy, Mr Garrett said he remained sceptical because there was still no safe way of storing nuclear waste. The federal Opposition has been working to establish its green credentials as a point of difference between itself and the Howard Government. Changes to the party's platform must be formally agreed to at its national conference. Labor's environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, said its greenhouse policy was already "very substantial". Mr Garrett's speech came in the middle of a week of conferences about climate change. The Federal Government will host a meeting of 25 countries in Sydney today to discuss the prospects for an international climate-change strategy outside auspices of the Kyoto Protocol. Yesterday, meanwhile, the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, attacked the environment movement for promoting renewable energy as a viable alternative to current forms of energy generation such as coal. "I really [have] to wonder how much effort has been made by the resource sector to explain the harsh reality of life without fossil fuels and why so many people still seem able to imagine life without a basic, consistent and affordable supply of energy," Mr Macfarlane told a forum promoting the environmental initiatives of the coal industry. Australia's energy needs for the next two decades would continue to revolve around coal, and the perception the industry was doing nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions needed to be changed, he said. Mr Macfarlane urged the fossil fuel industry to begin a campaign telling people that without them "electricity will become an unknown, unreliable quantity, unravelling life as we know it". There was no need for a carbon tax to rein in greenhouse gas emissions because Australia's levels had already been reduced by 4 per cent in the past five years, Mr Macfarlane said. Despite the decline, Australia's greenhouse gas emission levels remain the highest per capita in the developed world. The Australian Greenhouse Office predicts the level of emissions will be nearly 25 per cent higher by 2020, largely due to rising electricity consumption and greater vehicle use. You go Garrett!!! Goodness knows there needs to be attention drawn to the situations mentioned in that article.