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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
16 March 2005
Developing low emissions technology is the most pressing challenge to reducing the levels of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, the Minister for Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, told an energy and environment conference in London yesterday.
"Being able to use traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and gas through cleaner and more efficient methods is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing governments and industry," Senator Campbell said.
"Other energy sources - such as solar, wind and hydro - have an important role to play but for the foreseeable future fossil fuels will continue to be the principal source of Australia's energy needs."
Senator Campbell told the 20-nation conference the Australian Government had established a $500 million fund, which aims to leverage $1 billion from industry to develop technologies to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The fund was the key component of the government's $1.8 billion package of programs to address climate change.
"Measures adopted by the Australian Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are working.
"Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target of 108 percent of 1990 emissions by 2012 and this is being achieved without impeding economic growth.
"That is the challenge - to get carbon levels down but keep economic growth up.
"The task of reducing greenhouse emissions beyond 2012 will increase as some of the existing options to offset emissions diminish.
"That is why the Government is pursuing practical policies that will allow our energy needs to be met at competitive prices, but that will simultaneously help to cut global greenhouse gases to the levels required to stabilise the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere."Speakers at the two-day conference said such reductions required a concerted approach by the major greenhouse gas emitters from all developed and developing economies.
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434