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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

16 February 2005

Australia leads the way in tackling greenhouse gas emissions

Australia had reason to be proud of its record in reducing greenhouse gas emission levels, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

He said emissions had been cut by around 4 per cent in the past five years, the equivalent of taking four million vehicles off our roads.

"The entry into force today of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is a milestone, but rather than be made to feel guilty for not having ratified it, Australia can hold its head high for its record in protecting the environment," he said.

"A tremendous amount of work has been done by the community, industry and government to care for our environment and in finding ways to tackle the big issues associated with greenhouse emissions.

"Kyoto is not the environment's silver bullet. There isn't one.

"But there are two real bullets - technology and action by all countries.

"Today, world energy relies on fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these sources can only come from advances in technology - ways to exploit our cheapest sources of energy but make them far cleaner.

"The facts about Kyoto are simple: if all of the member parties reach their targets - and that's not going to happen - global greenhouse emissions will still grow by 40 per cent.

"If Australia were to sign up to this treaty not only would it achieve next to nothing for the environment, but the competitiveness of some Australian industries would be severely harmed and job losses would follow.

"Australia will continue to work hard in various forums to get all of the world's major emitting countries - not only some of them - to commit to a new treaty beyond Kyoto that will achieve the deep cuts that scientists agree are required to stabilise the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.'

Senator Campbell said Australia's achievements in tackling the greenhouse problem included:

Senator Campbell said the Governments $1.8 billion climate change package demonstrated its determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the measures designed to achieve a long term effective climate change program include:

"The $500 million Low Emissions Technology Fund from the Energy White Paper will provide incentives to industry to develop the sort of technology needed to clean our fuels, trap and use gases that previously would have gone into the atmosphere and safety dispose of waste.

"The Government is also investing more than $200 million as part of its Energy White Paper Energy Strategy to help develop the renewable energy sector, such as photovoltaic technology (producing electricity from the sun) and wind power.

Media contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia