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I am pleased to release Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021 (Climate Action 21). Climate change is a serious and urgent challenge to which we must continue to respond. Climate Action 21 reflects the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to addressing the critical issue of climate change. We can be proud of our achievements and the contribution we are making to national solutions. Tasmania is a genuine leader in the response to climate change. We have reduced our emissions by 95 per cent on 1990 levels, exceeding our legislated target of 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Almost half of our land mass is held in reserves and operates as a net carbon sink. Our per capita emissions are amongst the lowest of any jurisdiction in the developed world and renewable energy generation accounts for around 90 per cent of our total electricity supply. Climate Action 21 builds on our leadership status in renewable energy generation and commits to using our status to support a coordinated national approach to improve energy security in Australia while transitioning to a low carbon economy.
We know that Tasmania will not be immune to the impacts of climate change. Recent events have shown us what we may experience under a changing climate as extreme weather occurs more frequently and with increased severity. We have seen significant bushfire events, a record marine heatwave off the East Coast and a prolonged dry period which created energy security concerns. We have also experienced the worst floods Tasmania has seen statewide in 40 years. Climate Action 21 provides a fresh agenda for Tasmania to take action and play our role in the global response to climate change. We will continue efforts to reduce our emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change in a way that supports our economy and provides opportunities for growth. This includes a commitment to establish an aspirational target of zero net emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. Tasmania’s capacity and expertise in renewable energy, and Antarctic and climate science research, is renowned worldwide, and a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy can help deliver increased investment, jobs and economic growth. Changes in the climate will allow us to build on our competitive advantages in tourism, agricultural production and marine resources.
The Tasmanian Government is committing $3 million in new funding to support the delivery of Climate Action 21. This builds on over $400 million we have already committed to action on climate change, including a comprehensive targeted fuel reduction burning program, the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, modernisation and upgrades to our renewable hydro-electricity assets, and investment in our irrigation infrastructure to provide greater surety for farmers in a changing climate. We are also continuing to deliver nationally accredited training related to climate change issues, and supporting businesses and households to improve their energy efficiency. The actions in this plan have been prepared in consultation with local government, industry, non-government organisations and the broader community. It is a plan that Tasmanians will continue to have a role in, because the climate change challenge is not just the responsibility of one person or organisation; it is something we must continue to work on together.
Minister for Environment and Parks