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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

6 March 2001

International report recognises sinks in the challenge of climate change


The latest report from the world's climate scientists recognises the important role that sinks, such as forests, can play in meeting the challenges of climate change.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the report, Mitigation of Climate Change, released last night by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recognised that forests, agricultural lands and other terrestrial ecosystems offered significant carbon mitigation potential.

The report also underlines that significant technical progress towards abatement has occurred in all sectors, and at a faster rate than expected.

"It reinforces that there are significant global opportunities for technologies, programs and policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The report also highlights emissions trading is a key component of greenhouse response, and that restrictions on this economic tool would significantly increase the costs of reducing greenhouse emissions for all countries.

"The Commonwealth Government is exploring options for a domestic emissions trading scheme which may be introduced once carbon trading is in place internationally. We are consulting widely with industry regarding the various policy approaches that we may use to introduce emissions trading."

The IPCC report also recognises that one size does not fit all and that countries and regions will have to choose emission reduction strategies that best suit their own economic, geographic and social situations.

Senator Hill said Australia's response to climate change included a diverse range of strategies that cut across different sectors of the economy including energy, agriculture, transport, waste and industrial processes.

"The Government has committed almost $1 billion over five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

"We will continue to work in partnership with other governments, communities and the private sector to encourage further abatement action and uptake of new technologies that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

" Programs to this end are already in place, such as the Greenhouse Challenge, where government and industry are working cooperatively to identify and implement abatement actions."

The report, Mitigation of Climate Change, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the third in a series of reports making up the Third Assessment Report, due for publication in April. The IPCC provides authoritative assessments on the state of understanding of climate change science, impacts, and adaptation and mitigation strategies. Further information on the report, and on the IPCC can be found at www.ipcc.ch

Tuesday, March 6

Contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) 02 62777640 or 0419 258364...

Commonwealth of Australia