Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Friday, 9 December, 2005
Talking points for Minister
- Good afternoon.
- Distinguished guests, representatives of local government, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to be here today to celebrate the achievements of local government in taking action to address one of the most critical environmental challenges of our times - climate change.
- One of the matters I will canvass today is the great successes of Australian local governments in addressing climate change.
- Let me start by saying that Cities for Climate Protection Australia is the best local government sustainability programme in the world, with 207 local governments representing nearly 80% of the Australian population.
- And as important as the size and coverage of CCP Australia is the real and growing greenhouse abatement that is being achieved.
- I would like this afternoon to make some comments on international and multilateral agreements on climate change, to explore reasons for the success of the Australian Government's partnership with local government through the Cities for Climate Protection Australia programme; and the importance of approaches to climate change that are effective, comprehensive and protect economic competitiveness.
International and multilateral approaches
- We have reached a critical point in the debate on how to address climate change - what future options are available to us? Do we push for an international agreement that is binding on all parties? Do we pursue bilateral and multilateral partnerships?
- From Australia's perspective it would be ideal to have co-operation from all countries and all greenhouse emitters.
- At a meeting of 38 environment ministers in Ottawa recently, convened by the incoming president of the UN convention on climate change, Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion, the consensus was clear: the time has come to move beyond Kyoto. It's a sentiment to which Blair is wholeheartedly subscribing.
- Fact: Under Kyoto, global greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to grow by about 40 per cent between 1990 and 2012.
- Fact: Australia is one of just a handful of nations that is on track to meet its Kyoto emissions target.
- Fact: One tonne of greenhouse gas emissions produced by a desalination plant in Sydney would have the same effect on global warming as one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions produced by a power plant outside Beijing.
- These three points alone make it clear to be effective we need to look beyond Kyoto.
- Climate change presents the globe with an unprecedented challenge.
- Saving the climate will require immense co-operation and action, but not just by governments. It is vital to also involve industry and the research community. The world will need trillions of dollars in investment in new technologies and, in particular, to clean up fossil fuels.
- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for the US, the European Union, Russia, Japan, China and India to work together, and argues that the answer lies in the development and deployment of new low-emissions energy technology.
- That is why the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate is so important. The partnership aims to bring practical solutions to the problem of climate change through the development of new technologies.
- The membership of the partnership -- Australia, the US, China, India, Japan and South Korea -- is significant because these six signatory nations represent almost 50 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- I was interested to find out that ICLEI has a presence in each of these countries, and that there is potential for Australian local governments to model actions for other participating countries.
- Australia's role in technology development is pivotal to this aim. The Australian Government's comprehensive $1.8 billion strategy to address climate change includes initiatives such as the $500 million Low Emissions Technology Development Fund, designed to encourage the development of new technologies. This is exactly the approach that Blair is calling for.
- Australia has been at the forefront of action on climate change domestically and internationally.
- The world's energy demands are going to dramatically increase this century.
- This is a good thing: it will bring benefits to millions of people in the world who do not have the same access to the living standards -- health care, education and infrastructure -- that we in the developed world enjoy. But the challenge must be to create this extra energy while radically reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we produce.
Success of our partnership with Australian local governments
- As I stated in my introductory comments, Cities for Climate Protection Australia is the best local government sustainability programme in the world, with 207 local governments representing nearly 80% of the Australian population.
- And its not just its coverage that is impressive - this is matched by the greenhouse abatement that is being achieved by local government.
- A recent report into the achievements of Cities for Climate Protection Australia shows strong abatement growth in 2004-05, with councils reporting 1.55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emission reductions, a 22 per cent increase on last year's impressive figures.
- So why is CCP Australia so successful? I think there are four critical elements.
- The first is the commitment from local government.
- Australian local government is among the most committed and active in the world. Without their efforts, committing funds and staff to greenhouse initiatives, there would be no CCP Australia.
- The second is the commitment from ICLEI. Without its performance-based programmes and the tireless support and advocacy for local government, neither programme would be so strong.
- Third, and possibly the most important - and this is where the Australia's approach is unique when compared to other countries - is the continuous and on going funding and strategic input into the development of the programme from the Australian Government.
- CCP Australia is the only CCP programme in the world that has had consistent funding and support from a national government for eight consecutive years.
- Over the last eight years the Australian Government has invested close to $18 million in CCP. This includes financing ICLEI to deliver CCP Australia in partnership with my Department, and also includes providing over $3.5 million directly to local government in grants.
- No other voluntary environmental programme in Australia has had this level and length of support from the Federal Government.
- Fourth and finally is the approach taken to implement practical, on the ground and affordable actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- This approach is strongly endorsed by the Australian Government.
Australian Government approach
- The Australian Government has long established a track record of successfully addressing climate change through cooperative partnerships with the Australian community and Australian industry.
- In Australia, there is no disputing that we are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on our natural environment, economy and society. Our economy however relies on industry sectors that are heavy users of energy and high greenhouse emitters.
- As a result, the Australian Government is taking action, and has high interest in efforts to successfully address the challenge of climate change.
- We also want approaches to climate change that are effective, comprehensive and protect Australia's competitiveness.
- It is only through economic growth that we will have the means necessary to protect our environment and the Australian Government will continue to position itself to maintain a strong and internationally competitive economy with a lower greenhouse signature.
CCP Australia on the international stage
- "Think Global, Act Local" is a popular mantra of sustainability programmes, and one that is most apt for Cities for Climate Protection.
- Not only has CCP Australia made great strides locally, but this success is translating into an influential position on the world stage.
- The lessons of CCP Australia are now being applied in CCP New Zealand.
- ICLEI Australia has started working with the City of Tianjin in China in a very exciting development.
- I am also pleased to see events such as this that highlight the success of local government actions.
- Finally, I would like to congratulate and thank you those Australian local governments represented here today for being part of CCP Australia - Australia's record is something we should be extremely proud of.