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Time to bring ambition back into climate debate

The Australian Greens are moving to put ambition back in the centre of the climate change debate, taking the government's motion recognising the reality of climate change moved in the House of Representatives today to its logical conclusion.

Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, spoke on the motion in the House and Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, will move both an expanded motion in the Senate and an urgency debate on the level of action required.

"The climate crisis is not just another political issue that governments can use as a wedge or tick off their to-do lists," Senator Milne said.

"A solid understanding of climate science has to underpin any decisions we make, as does a clear view of what Australia's fair contribution to the global effort should be.

"When global experience already shows that taking ambitious action to cut emissions drives job creation and investment, it is clear we should be embracing this transformation, not shying away from it."

The parliamentary motions come in the context of a new report released today by the Global Carbon Project, showing that global carbon emissions did not slow as much as expected during the height of the global financial crisis.

In addition, the latest report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the globe tracking to see 2010 as the hottest year on record.

"The government's motion today seems simple. But accepting it means accepting all the consequences that flow from it," Mr Bandt said.

"The climate emergency requires us to take strong and profound action to cut carbon pollution and that is what the Greens are working towards."

The urgency motion to be debated this afternoon in the Senate reads:

"The need for the Government's negotiating position at Cancun to be informed by an understanding of both the latest climate science and what constitutes an equitable contribution by Australia to the global challenge of decarbonisation."

The motion to be voted on in the Senate today will read:

That the Senate acknowledges that climate change is:
a. Real;
b. Human induced; and
c. That urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions is required to achieve the goal, to which Australia committed under the Copenhagen Accord, namely constraining global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels.

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