By Angela Dorizas
The Federal Government has established an independent Climate Commission, chaired by leading environmentalist and author, Professor Tim Flannery.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, today announced the creation of the new Commission and the appointment of former Australian of the Year, Professor Flannery as Chief Commissioner.
Mr Combet said the Climate Commission would provide an “authoritative, independent source of information” on climate change to the Australian community.
“It will provide expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action,” he said.
“It will help build the consensus about reducing Australia’s carbon pollution.”
Professor Flannery said the Commission would have a public outreach role and help build greater understanding of climate change and its impacts.
"The Climate Commission will fulfil a key information and education role, enabling the Australian community to have a more informed conversation about climate change," he said.
The Climate Commission will receive $5.6 million in Commonwealth funding over four years, and will be supported by a Science Advisory Panel.
The announcement follows the release of Australia’s annual emissions projections on Wednesday.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency report, Australia’s Emissions Projections, predicted that without further government action, emissions would continue to rise.
“In 2020, emissions are projected to be 24 per cent above 2000 levels – that’s a further projected increase from current levels,” Mr Combet said.
The report acknowledged the Renewable Energy Target and other measures under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, but did not include the impact of a carbon price or the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Mr Combet said Australia needs to cut at least 160 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2020.
“That’s equal to be reducing emissions from generating electricity by 75 per cent,” he added.
“This 160 million is on top of the 109 million tonnes of savings provided by existing measures.
“By 2030 we are projected to be 44 per cent above 2000 levels.”
Mr Combet said the published data shows that more needs to be done, such as setting a price on carbon.
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