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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 I remember quite clearly the absolute outrage of CSIRO scientists and other people in this field of research at the crass stupidity of the Chief Minister's remarks. I am pleased that the Minister for Conservation has at least returned us to something like the mainstream of informed discussion on these matters, rather than disappearing into cloud cuckoo land with visions of thousands of acres of wheat being grown in central Australia. Mr Perron: It certainly won't be growing in South Australia. Mr EDE: We know exactly what is happening to the environment there, Mr Speaker, and their soils have a much greater build-up of humus than the soils of central Australia. There is nothing in the minister's statement which indicates that it was necessary for him to attend the conference, which turned out to be a wasted opportunity. If the minister had come back with some indication that he had worked with people from places in the savannah belt or from semi-arid areas in the poorer parts of the world, and had developed some technology transfer agreements or something of that nature, we could have congratulated him. However, he has not done any of that. He has not told us how climate change will affect the Northern Territory. As Sir Arvi Parbo said, all we are getting is more conferences and more promises by politicians leading; one assumes, to more attempts to convince people in the Northern Territory that somehow members of the Northern Territory government have become green, or at least greener than they were when the Chief Minister was predicting that the arid zones of central Australia would become the wheat fields and rice bowls of Asia. Mr COLLINS (Sadadeen): Mr Deputy Speaker, I know that these topics have arisen from time to time and have been subject to discussion in this House. It is important for us to inform ourse 1 ves about the problems and steep ourselves in them, even though the answers are not totally clear by a long shot. Often, it seems to be very much 1 i ke gazi ng into a crysta 1 ba 11 seeking to define what the outcomes will be of increased gases in the atmosphere which would enhance the Greenhouse Effect. The best news on the subject that I have read in recent days is that the models and the predictions from the recent ANZUS conference, which the media seemed to seize on to predict dire consequences, are now being subjected to better analysis, resulting in rather more optimistic comment. Some more recent articles related that one scienti st said that, if what scienti st A reckons wi 11 occur does occur, the computer model indicates that such and such will be the consequence. The problem with computer models is that the extent of any input affecting the subject under study is a matter of guesswork. That does not provide us with a great deal ~f faith that we are on top of the problem at thi s stage. The computer mode 1 s used are s i mil a r to those used to predict the weather and we all know that weather predictions are not accurate yet. The predictions come close to the reality at times but, at other times, they can be way off track. Much of what we are told about the Greenhouse Effect stems, to some degre~, from conjecture. However, that does not mean that we shoul d not exami ne the problems and determine what we can do in a practical sense. The other night I was watching a television program. I did not catch its title, but some other honourable members may have watched it too. It was about an African country where the people use cooking pots made from iron from 44-gal1on drums etc. These pots have a metal lining in the middle and air holes underneath. The program indicated that some 2000 mi 11 ion people in the world cook their food each day using wood as fuel. That 8770