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

12 May 2006

Minister Campbell tells United Nations we need to build a 'hybrid world'

Building a 'hybrid world' will be the answer to meeting the twin challenges of energy-dependent economic development and climate change, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, told the 14th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD14) in New York.

"To achieve the Millennium Development Goals we need to make economies more resilient. We also need to ensure our ecosystems are maintained in good health," Senator Campbell said.

To ensure both, we need to build a 'hybrid world' where renewable and fossil fuel industries work together, combining technologies to improve efficiency. That way, the most economically effective energy solutions will be used – at the household level, the industrial level and the national level.

"To the atmosphere, a tonne of carbon saved from more efficient fossil fuel use or sequestration is just as good as a tonne saved by renewable energy. The key question is which will be cheaper for any given situation."

Senator Campbell said the world would invest many trillions of dollars on energy generation and supply during the next few decades – this investment must help countries grow economically so they can lift people out of poverty, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Fossil fuels – coal, natural gas and oil – will remain the basis of the world's energy supply for the medium term. That is the reality that we face.

"Renewable energy – such as wind, solar, hydrogen and geothermal – will play an increasingly important part in the energy mix over time, however renewables will remain a relatively small proportion of the mix during the timeframe in which we need to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations and reach our Millennium Development Goals.

"That reality underlines the importance of urgently working together in global partnerships to reduce the net emissions from fossil fuels. It is the private sector that will drive innovation and investment in low emission energy technologies and it must be included in these partnerships.

"A practical example of these partnerships is the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (AP6), which brings together government and business leaders from Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States."

The key themes of CSD14 are energy for sustainable development, climate change, air pollution/atmosphere and industrial development.

Media Contact:
Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

Commonwealth of Australia