Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
16 November 2006
Australia and the United States will work together on five new projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, accelerate the development of carbon storage technologies, and help Pacific Island countries adapt to climate change, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
Announcing the projects in Nairobi with United States Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, Senator Campbell said the projects would build on the extensive range of actions already being undertaken as part of the Australia-U.S. Climate Action Partnership (CAP).
“Three of these new projects will make a big difference to Pacific Island Countries’ ability to deal with climate change,” Senator Campbell said.
“For example, one project will develop a tropical cyclone database and improve understanding of the impact of climate change on extreme weather events in the South Pacific, South Indian, and Australian regions.
“Another of the new projects will help Australia and the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve farm productivity by increasing the carbon stored in agricultural soils.
“The projects demonstrate that Australia and the U.S. are responding very practically to the challenge of climate change and are also providing support to developing countries in our region.”
The Climate Action Partnership was first established in 2002 and now includes 32 projects and activities. These projects relate to measuring and accounting for emissions, improving scientific understanding, supporting low-emission technology, engaging business, and improving forestry and agriculture practices.
Senator Campbell said the projects would extend Australia’s programme of practical action, which runs side-by-side with its involvement in the United Nations Climate Change Convention.
“At the same time as we push for a truly global response through the UN Framework, Australia is demonstrating international and regional leadership by taking practical actions. As well as taking action through bilateral partnerships such as the CAP, we have already contributed $60 million to more than 40 projects under the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that will help develop the low-emission technologies the world needs.
“The Australian Government is more interested in taking real action than in simple slogans. Climate change is a serious problem that requires a ‘multi-track’ approach and we will continue to take action through a range of international forums.”
Rob Broadfield on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Project: Climate Change and South Hemisphere Tropical Cyclones
- This project will extend the new Australian Tropical Cyclone project being undertaken by the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to develop a tropical cyclone database for Australia and the South Pacific, along with the expertise to ensure the data is used widely in the region.
- The BOM will become a ‘lead centre’ in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean region, to enhance the quality and availability of climate data generated.
- Climate change is a major threat to agriculture, water supply and health in small island countries in the tropical South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Climate Change Benefits:
- Better information – it will improve understanding of the climate of the South Pacific, South Indian and Australian regions and the impact of changes in extreme events.
- Adaptation – it will help small island countries in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans to prepare and implement more informed responses to climate change, in both the short and long terms.
Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology, U.S. Government’s National Climatic Data Centre, and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd.
Project: Building Robust and Reliable Data Monitoring Infrastructure for Climate Change Monitoring
- This project will use appropriate data management techniques to ensure that climate data in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) – including Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua-New Guinea, and Samoa – is secure, accessible, and can be used to develop more informed responses to the impacts of climate change.
- It will increase expertise in managing and using climate data within the PICs and will support existing activities to help establish database management systems within these countries.
- This project builds upon previous work to secure climate data in the South Pacific region.
Climate Change Benefits:
- Better information – it will help improve the quality and durability of climate information available in Pacific Island Countries. It will enable them to develop more informed responses to climate change and its likely impacts.
- Regional research – the information being secured will form the basis for further research on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies by countries in the region, including Australia.
Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology, U.S. Government’s National Climatic Data Centre, and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
Project: Cooperation on Geosequestration
- This project will help accelerate the availability of carbon dioxide capture and storage (geosequestration) technologies as an appropriate option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Australia and the United States will cooperate on a range of environmental and policy issues related to the implementation of the technology. These include assessing the risk; regulating water and air quality; undertaking further research; and developing suitable measuring, monitoring and verification processes.
- Climate Change – Geosequestration has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly in both Australia and the United States and has been described by the International Energy Agency as an ‘essential technology’ for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Technological Development – Cooperation between the two Governments will help create conditions in both countries that encourage the quick, reliable, and environmentally effective development and implementation of this important technology.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (Office of Atmosphere and Radiation) and the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage (Australian Greenhouse Office).
Project: Whole Farm Emission Tradeoffs
- Australia and the United States will share information on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by
storing carbon in agricultural soils.
- Agricultural soils represent a large potential sink for CO2 – increasing the use of conservation
practices in farming could enable more carbon to be stored in the soil.
- The information exchanged will help both countries to improve policies in relation to agricultural
practices and the scientific methods used for measuring the carbon being stored.
- Climate Change – better storage of carbon in agricultural soils has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both Australia and the U.S. as both countries have large areas of agricultural land.
- Farm Productivity – storing carbon in soils, in the form of organic matter, would improve soil productivity by enhancing its fertility. The agricultural practices used would also reduce the amount of agricultural chemicals being used on the soil and reduce the risk of erosion.
Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage (Australian Greenhouse Office) and the United States Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases, a consortium of nine universities and the Pacific North West National Laboratory.
Project: Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum
- The project will establish a Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum that will help Pacific Island Countries to sustainably manage the biological resources most likely to be affected by climate change, including coastal and shallow-water resources, and coral reefs.
- The forum will be supported by an electronic information system that contains biological and taxonomic data from the Pacific region and that can be accessed by users in remote locations.
- Australia and the United States will also exchange visits to share information with each other on current practices, as well as new technologies and methodologies to minimize the impact of climate change on biological resources.
- Climate Change – the forum, and electronic information system, will enable countries from the Asia- Pacific region to work together and to learn from each other’s knowledge as they improve their understanding of the effects of climate change and as they prepare to adapt to those effects.
- Commercial – the information system will also help manage and preserve the cultural and economic value of biological resources at risk from climate change.
Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage (Australian National Botanic Gardens) and the U.S. Department of the Interior United States Geological Survey.