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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Alexander Downer

24 October 2003

Australia - China Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, David Kemp, and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, today welcomed the progress on collaboration between China and Australia on climate change.

Officials from Australia and China held a workshop in Beijing in September where they agreed on a Joint Declaration on Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change, which sets out cooperation in the following areas:

"Today's announcement reinforces Australia's commitment to practical action and strong international engagement on climate change," Dr Kemp said.

"It recognises that climate change is a serious issue for Australia and China and both countries will benefit from working together on it.

"We began work on inventory and projections issues, and on emissions from land use, and I welcome the potential for expanding our cooperation on climate change."

Mr Downer said pursuing an effective global response to climate change is an important international objective for Australia.

"China is an important partner for Australia in many areas and closer engagement on climate change is a positive development," Mr Downer said.

Australian and Chinese industry representatives participated in the discussions at the Beijing workshop, reinforcing the critical role industry had to play in addressing climate change.

A Joint Declaration on Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change with China is anticipated to deliver trade benefits since China is a large potential market for Australian greenhouse technologies, products and expertise.

Dr Kemp said the Joint Declaration with China reflects Australia's commitment and pro-active approach to addressing climate change at bilateral, multilateral regional as well as domestic levels.

"Australia's own greenhouse programs are expected to deliver annual emissions abatement of 67 million tonnes by 2008-2012 - the equivalent to taking all today's cars, trucks and buses off the road. Without these measures, greenhouse emissions would have been 123 per cent of the 1990 level by the end of the decade," he said.

The latest projections analysis shows Australia is on track to meet its 108 per cent target agreed to at Kyoto. On current measures, Australia will reach around 110 per cent of 1990 greenhouse emissions levels by the end of the decade and the Howard Government is currently developing a climate change forward strategy to help bridge the gap to the Kyoto target and position Australia for the longer term.

The Joint Declaration on Australia-China Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change and background information on Australia's broader bilateral climate change partnerships is attached.

Joint Declaration - Australia-China Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change

  1. Senior officials and experts from the People's Republic of China and Australia met in Beijing on 22nd and 23rd September 2003 to discuss climate change. The delegations were led by Mr. Gao Guangsheng, Director-General, Office of the National Coordination Committee for Climate Change (ONCCCC), National Development and Reform Commission for China (NDRC) and Mr Howard Bamsey, Chief Executive, Australian Greenhouse Office for Australia (AGO).
  2. Both sides noted that climate change is a serious issue for both Australia and China and that there is mutual benefit in working together on this issue. They affirmed the importance of developing an effective global response to climate change over the longer term and acknowledged that both countries are already contributing to this effort. They noted actions to address climate change need to be carried out in the context of sustainable development. Continued economic growth will help generate the resources needed to manage the risk of climate change effectively.
  3. Both sides welcomed the expanding dialogue and cooperation between Australian and Chinese officials and experts on climate change issues and noted the considerable potential for benefit to both countries. Initial exchanges on inventory and projections issues and on emissions from land use have already commenced. It was agreed to explore the potential for further collaboration between relevant agencies and business in the following areas: (a) Climate Change Policies; (b) Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation; (c) National Communication (Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Projections); (d) Technology Cooperation; and (e) Capacity Building and Public Awareness.
  4. Both sides welcomed the participation of Australian and Chinese industry representatives in the discussions about climate change. Their participation underlined the important role that industry in both countries has to play in addressing climate change and the mutual benefit of such collaboration.
  5. Both sides noted that there would be continued policy exchanges on climate change and on practical bilateral cooperation. They also agreed to use, as appropriate, other opportunities and existing mechanisms for ministers and officials to discuss climate change.

Background - Australia's Bilateral Climate Change Partnerships

Australia is pursuing a multi-pronged international climate change strategy to build an effective global response to climate change. This strategy includes action at multilateral, regional and bilateral levels.

Bilateral partnerships provide a framework to both engage at a high level on climate change policy issues and focus on practical and measurable outcomes that benefit both countries. Through its bilateral partnerships, Australia aims to:

Australia is progressing bilateral cooperation on climate change with the United States, Japan, New Zealand, the European Union and now China.

US Australia Climate Action Partnership

The US Australia Climate Action Partnership (CAP) was announced on 27 February 2002. In July 2002, the Australian and United States governments announced a CAP work program that included 19 projects under six themes: climate change science and monitoring; stationary energy technologies; engaging with business - technology development; engaging with business - policies, tools and approaches; collaboration with developing countries to build capacity to deal with climate change; and greenhouse accounting in the forestry and agriculture sector.

Japan-Australia Practical Collaboration on Climate Change

Practical collaboration on climate change with Japan was initiated under the Japan-Australia Creative Partnership, announced by both countries' Prime Ministers in May 2002. Australian and Japanese environment officials agreed to cooperate in three thematic areas: ways to engage all countries in a response to climate change; measurement and accounting for greenhouse sinks; and energy and technologies. Work is under way to implement or further develop specific projects.

New Zealand-Australia Climate Change Partnership

In July 2003, the Australian and New Zealand Governments announced a New Zealand-Australia Climate Change Partnership, built around five themes: engaging with business and local government on technology development, policy design and implementation; building on existing cooperation on energy efficiency; measuring and reducing emissions from the agricultural sector; further enhancing climate change science and monitoring; and working together with our Pacific Island neighbours to address the regional challenges posed by climate change. Australia and New Zealand officials are progressing a number of project proposals under the partnership.

Australia-European Union Cooperation on Climate Change

Climate change was identified as an area for cooperation between the EU and Australia under the April 2003 Review of the Joint Declaration on Relations Between the EU and Australia. Cooperation with the EU is organised around four themes: technology development and deployment; climate science, impacts and adaptation; harmonisation of emissions monitoring reporting verification and certification procedures; and evolution of mitigations commitments. Australia and the EU are looking to advance work in line with these themes.

Commonwealth of Australia