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

Friday, 9 December, 2005
ABC Radio 'AM'

Australia breaks ranks with US to attend climate change talks


Australia has broken ranks with the United States and agreed to participate in post-Kyoto talks to devise a new global plan to fight climate change. In the last day of meetings in Montreal, the 34 Kyoto signatories have agreed to start negotiations on a new climate change protocol, to replace the current one which expires in 2012.

Reporter: Tanya Nolan

Tony Eastley: Australia has broken ranks with the United States and agreed to participate in post-Kyoto talks to devise a new global plan to fight climate change.

In the last day of meetings in Montreal, the 34 Kyoto signatories have agreed to start negotiations on a new climate change protocol, to replace the current one which expires in 2012.

Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will attend the first meeting of the breakaway Asia Pacific climate pact to be held in Sydney next month.

Senator Campbell is speaking here with Tanya Nolan.

Ian Campbell: Under the Protocol, the Kyoto parties are required to negotiate and they're going to do that, and Australia welcomes that, quite frankly.

I think we do need a lot of activities taking place that recognise the national differences.

Tanya Nolan: So, if Kyoto's not good enough for Australia to ratify, why do you hold hope that post-Kyoto might be good enough for Australia to join up to?

Ian Campbell: Well, Kyoto, quite frankly, is not good enough for the world. I mean, it only includes 35 per cent of the emissions.

We have a need in the world to increase the amount of energy that's used by two or three times in the next 50 years. That can only be achieved by massive new increases in technology, deployment of that technology, trillions of dollars worth of investment, and Kyoto just won't facilitate that.

Under Kyoto, greenhouse gas emissions will go up by 40 per cent. We need something far more effective and Australia is now part of building something in the post-Kyoto period that can be effective.

It is a matter of life and death for many ecosystems and many human beings for us to do this. And Australia regards itself as having a strong responsibility of playing a constructive role in that post- Kyoto discussion.

Tanya Nolan: In agreeing to post-Kyoto arrangements, Australia has broken ranks with the United States on this issue, which maintains that the one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to fix climate change problems.

Have you encouraged the US to rethink its stance?

Ian Campbell: I think the US can speak for themselves, but just about everybody at this conference agrees that one-size-fits-all simply won't work, that there has to be a multiple-track approach...

Tanya Nolan: But is the US the only country holding out on the post-Kyoto talks?

Ian Campbell: Well, there's a multiple-track approach. I'm not being sort of cute about this. There will be a discussion, we hope, that will proceed outside those negotiations on creating something more comprehensive and environmentally effective.

Tanya Nolan: But given that this is one of the most significant meetings on climate change that has been had since Kyoto, are you not disappointed that America is not being more agreeable to a post-Kyoto discussion at the very least?

Ian Campbell: No, I... Australia talks for Australia. We don't talk for America.

We're very pleased that America will be part of the partnership. They will be sending a high-level delegation to Australia in January.

That is America's track. We will work with America, China, India, Korea and Japan. That is a very constructive approach from America.

They have a different view about the UN Framework Convention at the moment, but we have to respect that.

Tony Eastley: The Federal Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell in Montreal speaking there to Tanya Nolan.

Commonwealth of Australia