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

Thursday, 8 December, 2005
Montreal, Canada

Address to the United Nations Climate Change Conference

President, Fellow Ministers, distinguished guests

Let me begin by extending Australia's warm appreciation to Canada - our close friend and Umbrella Group colleague - for hosting this significant event.

The development of an effective global response to climate change is of critical importance to Australia. Our natural environment - and our economy - are both highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Australia, as the inhabited continent with the driest and most variable climate, is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, according to our modelling and due to our national characteristics, the negative impacts of climate change on Australia are likely to be felt at a lower increase in temperature than other regions of the globe.

The unavoidable impact of climate change will be felt by us all. And adaptation requires action by us all. Given the varied impacts faced by countries, adaptation responses demand tailored and localised responses. However, there is much to be gained from working together, learning from each others' experiences and sharing knowledge and tools. Australia is pleased that we have made progress at this COP on shaping the Buenos Aires five-year work programme on adaptation.

With regard to mitigation, Australia supports the forging of an inclusive and effective multilateral agreement on climate change mitigation.

There is a wide diversity of views among Parties on the path forward with regard to mitigation. In light of this diversity, we support the President's current proposal to initiate discussions on long-term cooperation to address climate change. The useful paper produced earlier by the President - Action on Climate Change: Consideration for an Effective International Approach - observes that a number of countries will not participate in a future agreement if the only option is a template based on the short-term, national targets and timetables approach enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol.

Australia shares this view. Twenty-five countries account for approximately 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is that we can only make meaningful global greenhouse gas reductions if effective action is taken by all of the major emitting countries.

We urge COP parties to work to that end.

More broadly, Australia agrees we need fresh and flexible ways of looking at the issues. We need fresh ways to share knowledge and policy best practice; fresh ways to develop and deploy cleaner, more efficient technologies; fresh ways to involve our private sector; and fresh ways to build on our progress in de-linking emissions from economic growth in order to secure sustainable development.

Australia was proud to join with China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States in launching the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate in July.

This critical Partnership will work practically and collaboratively to accelerate development and deployment of clean and low emissions technologies and share best practices on clean development and climate. Importantly, the Partners agree that climate change actions should complement economic development and energy security goals.

Australia will host the inaugural Ministerial meeting of the Partnership next month in Sydney.

Australia is also participating in the new G8 Dialogue hosted by the United Kingdom in November that provides a useful opportunity for frank exchanges between parties.

We welcome the increasing practical engagement by the International Energy Agency, World Bank and Asia Development Bank in energy and climate issues.

Australia is also active in a wealth of innovative and practical research, technology and bilateral initiatives - including with our partners in the Pacific Island Forum.

We look forward to continuing this constructive engagement with other Parties - both inside and outside the Convention - to build effective responses to climate change.

Thank you.

Commonwealth of Australia