The Albanian government appointed three women with environmental backgrounds to the Climate Change Authority board in a bid to counter concerns that Coalition business leaders would take over the advisory body.
The authority has been given expanded responsibilities under climate change legislation passed by parliament last week, including advising the government on future emission reduction targets and an annual statement to parliament by the climate change minister. The advice must be made public, and the minister must explain why if he rejects it.
Climate activists have questioned whether the authority’s existing board is qualified to offer scientific advice after the Coalition. He named several business leaders. to fill board vacancies.
The chairman is Grant King, former head of Origin Energy and chairman of the Business Council of Australia. Former Greens leader Christine Milne has asked King to be replaced by a climate scientist.
Under changes to be announced by climate change minister Chris Bowen on Thursday, there are no changes to the existing six board members, but he has made three appointments to fill vacancies.
The new members are biologist Prof. Lesley Hughes, a distinguished academic who has served in government advisory roles and is a member of the Climate Council, Dr. Virginia Marshall, a legal researcher who has worked on indigenous water rights, and Sam Mostyn, a businesswoman. and sustainability advisor who was president of the climate advocacy group 1 Million Women.
Bowen said they would strengthen the authority’s role in “providing independent advice to the government on the nation’s emissions reduction and climate change policy.”
“With this expanded membership, the authority is better positioned to oversee emissions reduction efforts and provide expert advice to the government,” he said.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said the appointments were “a welcome change”. of the defenders of coal and gas named in the past”.
“I hope this is the start of the Climate Change Authority refocusing on the science of how we get past coal and gas and fight the climate crisis,” he said.
The authority was created in 2012 as part of a set of climate policies agreed by the Gillard government, the Greens and independent MPs. Tony Abbott’s Coalition tried to abolish it, but failed. Instead, he cut his funding, cut his staff, and dropped his advice.
Milne, who was the Greens’ climate spokesman when the authority was introduced, said the new appointments were important and praised the inclusion of Hughes in particular.
But he said he believed the composition of the board meant the new appointees would have an “uphill battle” to get their colleagues to take climate science seriously and not prioritize the future of the gas industry.