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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

15 August 2002

Australia on Track to Meet Greenhouse Target


Data released today by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, indicate Australia is within striking distance of its target of limiting greenhouse emissions to 108% of 1990 emissions over the period 2008-12, as agreed to at Kyoto.

“On current policy settings, Australia is projected to reach around 111% of 1990 emissions by the end of the decade, far closer to Australia’s 108% target than many climate change commentators have predicted,” Dr Kemp said.

“Australia’s economy is becoming less greenhouse intensive, with projections showing a 43% improvement from 1990 to 2012.

“The Government’s $1 billion investment in greenhouse programs is having a major impact on emissions, saving annually 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by the end of the decade – the equivalent of taking all cars off Australia’s roads.

“Furthermore, the Government has achieved these gains without sacrificing Australian jobs and whilst maintaining one of the highest rates of economic growth in the developed world.

“Congratulations are due to Australian industry, the farming community, local governments, community groups and many committed individuals for their efforts in helping to achieve this result

“Now, with the $12 million National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS), Australian scientists have developed the world’s leading system – and delivered it two years ahead of schedule and with capabilities extending far beyond its initial scope.

“This system enables us to include for the first time accurate emissions for land use change which is necessary to calculate our 108% target,” Dr Kemp said.

The NCAS is widely acknowledged as the cutting edge of world carbon accounting, as recently affirmed by leading NASA scientist, Dr Darrel Williams, who said in May, “To the best of our knowledge this multi-temporal data set is the most robust, continental scale Earth observation data set of its type ever assembled.”

“Without the action taken by this Government over the last six years Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions would grow to 122% of 1990 levels by the end of the decade and even more without reductions in emissions from land use changes since 1990,” Dr Kemp said.

“This Government’s record of achievement on climate change speaks for itself.

“Australia moved early on domestic greenhouse response and the figures released today provide a new benchmark for climate change action, incorporating comprehensive figures from all sectors for the first time. But there’s still work ahead of us,” Dr Kemp said.

The Government today is also announcing the way forward for Australia, both in bridging the final 3% gap to meet Australia’s 108% emissions target and positioning us for a strong, competitive economy with an even lower greenhouse signature for the twenty-first century.

The 2000 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the Third National Communication report and the land use change emissions results from the National Carbon Accounting System are now available.

“We have for the first time a clear picture of where Australia has been and where we are going in terms of emissions trends,” said Dr Kemp.

For full details of today’s announcement please visit the AGO website at: www.greenhouse.gov.au

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia