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 considerable potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Australian energy systems, both in the production of energy and in the efficient use of that energy. In terms of energy production systems, coal-fired power stations di scharge a considerable amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We are fortunate in the Territory in having the only power stations in Australia to employ combined cycle, gas-fired power generatio.n which leads to thermal effi ci enci es of up to 48%. Thi sis recogni sed across Austra 11 a as being one of the most efficient power generation systems, whilst being one of the systems which results in the lowest discharge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The CSIRO further advises that energy substitution must be phased in wherever possible. It advises that consideration should be given to increased use of solar energy, wind energy, tidal power, recycling technology, biomass energy and perhaps nuclear power. There is plenty of scope for improving the insulation of buildings and the use of low energy devices, including low wattage fluoro lighting. The government will be investigating these options further, following our deliberations at the Australian/New Zealand Environment Council meeting. As you would know, Mr Speaker, the use of solar hot water systems is widespread in the Territory and I believe that we may be leading much of eastern Australia in this regard. Sinks or natural stores of greenhouse gases are primarily forests which playa key role in the global carbon cycle. During their growth, they fix large quantities of carbon that would otherwise have been distributed into the atmosphere. Globally, the world's forest and woodland areas have been substantially reduced since 1850, primarily to accommodate the expansion of cultivation. The largest decreases in forest area have been in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Europe is the only area which has experienced a net increase since 1850. On a global scale, reafforestation would moderate the Greenhouse Effect. The rea 1 concern at the gl oba 1 1 eve 1 is that even a small improvement in the living standards of the millions of people in Asia, Africa and China is likely significantly to outweigh any savings in terms of carbon dioxide reductions in the industrial world. In particular, the cutting down of trees for firewood, which in many areas is the only source of fuel, is having a significant effect on the rate of deforestation and, accordingly, the discharge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Many developing countries have a need to develop and utilise their natural resources in order to aim for a higher standard of living. In a number of cases, development of these resources involves the logging of natural forests for commercial timber. The federal Minister for Resources has written to me seeking the support of the Territory for Australia to provide assistance to developing countries in the management and sustainable use of their forest resources and for reafforestation and plantation management. Whilst forestry operations in Australia have been criticised by the conservation movement, the Minister for Resources considers, and I support his views, that Australia's forest operations are very professional and we are able to advise developing countries on how best to manage their forests. In fact, this assistance has been sought from Australia by the International Tropical Timber Organisation, which has agreed to investigate the development of a code of best forest management practices similar to the standards practised in Australia. I wi 11 be advi sing the federal mini ster that, while we do not have a significant forestry industry in the Territory, we have experts who are 8763