Because of the enormous challenge, and severe consequences of inaction, Andrew is in no doubt that dealing with climate change should be a first priority for the Federal Government and a genuine whole-of-nation effort.
Putting a price on carbon pollution is a vital first step in reducing it. A carbon price influences emitters to clean up their act and consumers to buy clean goods. Andrew remains very proud that his vote was crucial in putting the price on carbon in 2011 and voted against its more recent repeal by the Abbott Government.
Andrew believes Australia can achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2030. To achieve this we must phase out carbon derived energy, and in particular coal and gas fired power stations, and the almost universal reliance on petrol and diesel for transport. He also supports a move to 100% reliance on renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro and tidal, by 2030. During the transition period measures like improved vehicle emissions standards will be beneficial.
There also needs to be every effort made to decentralise energy production including by turning near on every building into a micro power station which would, among other things, create greater energy security for the country. But to achieve this, appropriate incentives will be needed like government grants to assist with installation costs and feed in tariffs much closer to the retail price, or even better, of that charged for centrally produced electricity.
Another important dimension of this is the politics of the issue. Unfortunately climate change and Australia’s response has devolved into little more than a part of the confrontational argy-bargy of national politics. What’s needed instead is for both major parties to put aside their political self-interest in the pursuit of the public interest and to come together and achieve a consensus that transcends party politics and electoral cycles.
Andrew well understands that climate change is real and dangerous. Moreover he sees it as much more than an environmental and economic challenge, because it is also the most shocking example of intergenerational social injustice one could imagine.
Andrew believes that Tasmania’s forests are inherently valuable. They are also a critical carbon sink and a world-class tourist destination. They must be protected and the Government’s complete and utter disregard for them is simply appalling.
Andrew supports a sustainable forest industry. He has called for a Royal Commission to examine the financial collapse of Forestry Tasmania and has urged the Integrity Commission to open an investigation. He has sought answers in Parliament to the Prime Minister about the activities of Forestry Tasmania.
Andrew has also been critical of cuts to forestry research funding in Tasmania.
Question to the Prime Minister on Tasmanian forest Heritage listing, 18 Jun 2014
Andrew opposes fracking and believes that a permanent ban is the only way to protect Tasmania’s brand and water and to provide certainty for agriculture and tourism. He has spoken at a rally to ban fracking and has written an opinion piece urging the State Government to ban fracking once and for all.
Andrew has long opposed any form of pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. He believes that the Gunns pulp mill proposal in particular was far from pollution free, didn’t have a social license and was not assessed by a process we could trust.
Andrew believes that super trawlers are disastrous for recreational and commercial fishing, local fish stocks, and other marine life. He has been heavily involved in the fight against the Margiris and more recently the Geelong Star. He has lobbied the Prime Minister, been a regular at protest rallies and has helped to energise the issue in the media. He has also submitted complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the actions of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority regarding the Margiris and the Geelong Star.
Andrew supported the establishment of marine parks, and was appalled when the Coalition Government decided to scrap the marine park management plan, exposing sanctuaries to the risks posed by oil and gas exploration and commercial fishing.
While Andrew noted that funds were allocated in the budget for the establishment of marine reserves, he is mindful that we still do not know how the money will be spent and what protections will be put in place.
Andrew will keep a close eye on how the Government responds to the Marine Reserves Review, expected to be released in the second half of the year.
You can count on him to pressure the Government to do everything possible to protect our extraordinary marine environment.