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Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage
21 February 2001
Release of new and alarming climate change information by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week meant that Government, business and the community had to take urgent action to address greenhouse emissions, according to Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage.
Speaking at the Australian LP Gas Association's biennial conference "LP Gas - Meeting the Clean Challenge" in Sydney today, Sharman Stone highlighted the IPCC's finding that natural and human systems are under real pressure from changes to our climate.
"The good news is that the conversion to alternative fuel sources like liquefied petroleum gas, ethanol and other 'cleaner' fuels will reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. The ALPGA, as the industries peak organisation, are playing an important role in highlighting the need to reduce emissions and improving urban air quality".
"If we don't take strong action, Australia's unique coral reefs, mangroves, alpine areas, native grasslands and wetlands are at risk. A forecast decrease in rainfall would impact severely on the irrigation systems that power our agricultural and horticultural systems. The driest continent on earth could be about to get a whole lot drier", Sharman Stone said.
"Particularly concerning are the predictions of more wild and unpredictable weather this century. The IPCC have identified reduced rainfall, increasing heat stress, increased salinity, soil erosion and more frosts as likely outcomes of the warming planet. This would have a devastating affect on our fruit and vegetable growers, for example".
"Under present scenarios, Australia's ski fields, coastal tourist developments and the Great Barrier Reef are all at risk from climate change. However, it is not too late to reduce the trend and today's conference is an important forum to focus on the environmental, social and economic benefits of the LPG industry".
Dr Stone also highlighted the enormous contribution that the ALPGA were making to Australia's economic success.
"Over 600,000 vehicles operate on LPG in Australia today, including 97% of our taxi fleets. $600m worth of Australian LPG is exported each year and the technology that we have developed for use on our own motor vehicles is gaining interest from overseas. LPG-fuelled Ford Falcons are now a common site on the streets of Hong Kong".
Sharman Stone said that the Howard Government was investing $1b over five years to address climate change through the Australian Greenhouse Office.
"A range of grants for the commercialisation of renewable energy, support for the use of alternative fuel systems that emit less greenhouse fumes, rebates for solar energy users and trialing of carbon credit trading are all designed to encourage a move toward 'clean' energy".
"Climate change is upon us - it is important that we don't repeat the environmental mistakes of last century, as we are running out of time to fix them".
For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or 02 6277 2016
February 21st, 2001