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 the heart of the development debate ' . Speaking at the conference, he said that one of the essential features of the bank's existing program was the full integration of environmental considerations into all its activities. As evidenced by statements made at the Netherlands conference, the response of individual nations to the Greenhouse Effect varies greatly and depends largely on their state of industrialisation. At one end of the spectrum are highly industrialised countries such as the United States and Japan. Both countries, while acknowledging the need for action, decline to make any fi rm commitments at thi s stage to the reduction of ca rbon di ox ide emissions. The potential dislocation to industry and the economy by the setting of substantial targets for carbon dioxide emission reduction could be disastrous for highly industrialised countries and would require very careful planning. However, the United States delegation told the conference that it was committed to research into global climate change and was considering further initiatives in energy conservation and reafforestation. It supported a wor 1 dwi de phase-out of ch 1 orofl uoroca rbon s by the yea r 2000 and proposed to introduce in the interim period a system of fees to discourage CFC production and use. The USA would also rewrite its clean air laws to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions produced by electricity generation, by motor vehicles and by industry, and this would have a flow-on effect in reducing carbon dioxide emissions through resultant energy conservation progrqms. The US recognised the special problems of developing countries in addressing global environmental issues and was investigating the possibility of 'debt for nature l swaps and other innovative financing approaches. This would involve the United States writing off a portion of a loan to a developing country in return for guarantees that the country would preserve, for instance, a certain area of tropical forest. At the other end of the greenhouse spectrum are countries such as Tanzania which are struggling to feed their people and to raise their standard of 1 iving and which do not have any real i stic prospect of being able to reduce carbon dioxide emission. Tanzania has a population of 23.2 million people and a per capita gross national product of about $250. Its representative told the conference that wood supplied 91% of the countryl s energy demand and 97% of wood was used for firewood. Agriculture was the backbone of the country's economy, contributing about 46% of GNP and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. However, 83% of agriculture used traditional clearing and burning methods. As a result, and despite a massive government reaffores~ation program, about 0.5% of Tanzania's natural forest cover was lost every year. It was clear that, if Tanzania and other developing countries in similar situations were expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they would have to receive financial aid on a large scale to introduce alternative sources of energy and possibly other aid to introduce better farming methods. It is unreasonable to expect that countries such as Tanzania should remain at their present level of industrialisation. At the same time, these developing countries do not have the resources to acquire the most energy efficient and non-polluting technologies. As fa r as the Northern Territory is concerned, we a re a 1 ready we 1.1 advanced towards reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, although there is much more that can be done. Nearly all of the Territory's domestic electricity needs are met by natural gas-fired power stations. Natural gas as a fuel has a lower output of carbon dioxide and a very much lower output of other pollutants than other fossil fuels. Solar-augmented electricity generating systems are in limited use in remote localities and research is 8765