Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Change which I attended in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on 6 and 7 November last year. The conference was an important landmark in the field of climate change policy. The issues covered at the conference included carbon dioxide emission stabilisation and future reductions, global forest balance and future forest growth, funding mechanisms for general problems associated with c 1 i mate change, the need for a cl i mate change convention, and the principle of shared responsibility and the particular responsibilities of both developed and developing countries. It was recognised at the conference that the basic principle of ecologically sustainable development is fundamental to efforts to tackle the problem of climate change and atmospheric pollution. There were 67 countries represented at the conference, most of them at ministerial level. International organisations attended also, with the number of delegates at the conference numbering about 400. The conference culminated in the adoption of a declaration by consensus of all parties present entitled, I The Noordwijk Declaration on Cl imate Change ' . I would be happy to obtain a copy of the declaration for any member of thi s House. I would like to quote to the House from the preamble to the declaration: The composition of the earth's atmosphere is being seriously altered at an unprecedented rate due to human activity. Based on our current understanding, society is being threatened by man-made changes to the global climate. While there are still uncertainties regarding the magnitude, timing and regional effects of climate change due to human activity, there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that significant climate change and instability are most likely over the next century. Predictions available today indicate potentially severe economic and social dislocations for future generations. Assuming these predictions are accurate, delayed action may endanger the future of the planet as we know it. The issue is a serious one which is recognised by a growing level of i nternat i ona 1 concern. I am sure that the government can count on the support of all members of this House for the actions that we will be taking in the Territory over the next decade in order to play our part in arresting the changes that are occurring and, where possible, in reversing them. There is considerable confusion in the community over climate change and the processes involved. The Conservation Commission is organising a conference called 'Environment 90 1 to be held over 8 and 9 March, and one of the sessions of the conference will deal specifically with the issues of climate change. I recommend strongly that people attend the conference in order to hear from the experts the facts and the varying interpretations which can be placed on those facts. In the meantime, I woul d 11 ke bri efly to advi se the members of thi s Assembly of some of the processes in climate change. Climate change, co 11 oqui ally referred to as the Greenhouse Effect, is often confused with a number of separate issues, including ozone protection and acid rain. While these processes often result from similar atmospheric pollutants, the processes and their implications are quite different. I would like to outline these briefly for the benefit of honourable members. When shortwave energy from the sun arrives at the earth, about one-third is refl ected back to space by clouds 1 n the upper atmosphere. Of the rema i nder, about one-thi rd is absorbed by the atmosphere and two-thi rds is absorbed by 1 and and ocean surfaces. The earth I s surface re-radi ates thi s energy at longer wavelengths and this is then trapped by a number of so-called greenhouse gases which absorb this heat energy and act like a 8759