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Australian Government launches Climate Commission

THE Australian Government this month announced the establishment of an independent Climate Commission, with Professor Tim Flannery appointed as Chief Commissioner.

Making the announcement, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the Climate Commission would provide expert advice and information on climate change to the Australian community.

Mr Combet said the Climate Commission would provide "an authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians" with expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action.

The Climate Commission would have a public outreach role to help build greater understanding and consensus about reducing Australia's carbon pollution.

"The Climate Commission will fulfil a key information and education role, enabling the Australian community to have a more informed conversation about climate change. I am delighted to lead this new Commission," said Professor Tim Flannery.

Other members of the Climate Commission are Professor Will Steffen, Professor Lesley Hughes, Dr Susannah Eliott, Mr Gerry Hueston and Mr Roger Beale. The Commissioners have expertise in a range of areas including climate change science, science communications, business, public policy and economics.

The Climate Commission will be supported by a Science Advisory Panel, with leading scientists offering further expert advice on the science of climate change and its impacts.

CLIMATE COMMISSION – TERMS OF REFERENCE:

Purpose

The Climate Commission (the Commission) has been established to inform Australia's approach to addressing climate change and help build the consensus required to move to a competitive, low pollution Australian economy.

Tasks

The Commission will provide information and expert advice to:

  • Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia.
  • Report on the progress of international action dealing with climate change.
  • Explain the purpose and operation of a carbon price and how it may interact with the Australian economy and communities.

Duties

The Commission will be required to:

  • Hold a series of public outreach events to explain:

a. the science of climate change and issues raised by climate scientists;

b.    the magnitude of the challenge to address climate change;

c.    the role of a carbon price in effectively tackling climate change;

d.    what contribution other policy mechanisms are making;

e.    how a carbon price works and its interaction with the economy and the community; and

f.    the opportunities for Australian firms and communities in moving to a low carbon future

  • Draw on their expertise and that of the other relevant experts and organisations to prepare targeted information products to help inform the public and build community support for climate change efforts.
  • Engage in other community forums and public debate as required.

In addition, the Commission will, as required, provide updated assessments to the Government and the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee on the science of climate change.

Other matters
The Commission is an expert body and Commission deliberations, reports and public engagements will not be subject to Ministerial direction.

To support its role in providing information and expert advice on the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia, the Commission will also be supported by a science advisory panel.

The Chair of the Commission will be free to comment in the media on behalf of the Commission. Commissioners will be able to speak publicly on matters relating to the Commission's terms of reference, in coordination with the Chair of the Commission. The Commission may create and maintain its own website.

The Commission will not comment on policy matters nor provide policy advice or recommendations. In undertaking its functions it may commission expert advice and publish reports. The Commission will be supported by a secretariat maintained by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

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