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

23 March 2006

Australia-China climate change collaboration delivers real results


Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today released a report outlining practical achievements under the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership.

Senator Campbell said the excellent progress to date demonstrated the benefits of close cooperation between Australia and China, especially in the areas of low emission technology, adaptation, and improved scientific understanding of climate change.

“The Partnership focuses on practical, concrete projects that have real benefits for both countries in agreed priority areas such as renewable energy technology, energy efficiency, emissions projections and local government action,” Senator Campbell said.

“For example, Australian and Chinese researchers are developing ways to both reduce greenhouse emissions from agriculture and improve farm productivity by reducing unnecessary use of nitrogen fertilisers, which are both costly and potent greenhouse substances.

“Nitrous oxide has 310 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, therefore this project will have a significant greenhouse benefit as well as providing economic advantages for farmers.”

Senator Campbell also announced a new project to capture and use waste methane gas from coal mines. “This three-year joint project will develop and demonstrate an innovative new Australian technology that captures harmful methane gas from coal mine ventilation air and uses it to produce low emission energy,” he said.

“The project will be undertaken at a major mine site in China and will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but will also improve coal mine safety.”

The report released today - Australia-China Climate Change Cooperation Progress and Achievements 2003-2005 - outlines progress under the partnership over the last two years. It was endorsed by Senator Campbell and China’s Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Jiang Weixin, at the ministerial meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate in Sydney, January 2006.

The full report can be viewed at www.greenhouse.gov.au/international/partnerships

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434


Background

Progress Report on Climate Change Cooperation

Australia-China Climate Change Cooperation Progress and Achievements 2003-2005 report

In late May 2004 the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership was formalised through the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). A first round suite of six bilateral project areas were announced under the MOU during August 2004 focussing on: climate change and agricultural emissions modelling; carbon accounting; greenhouse and land management; and the impacts of land surface processes on regional and global climate. Implementation of these projects took place throughout 2004 and 2005 with some of the longer term projects continuing in 2006.

In 2005, an additional four projects were agreed for inclusion under the Partnership in the areas of renewable energy, emissions modelling and agriculture. In addition, in-principle agreement was given to work on coal mine methane issues.

The Australia-China Climate Change Cooperation Progress and Achievements 2003-2005 report details progress made in all these project areas during the period 2003-2005. The report also includes a set of guiding principles and priorities for future collaboration as agreed by the two countries in January 2006. Priority areas for the development and implementation of projects over the next two to three years are:

  1. Capacity Building
  2. Renewable Energy Technology
  3. Energy Efficiency
  4. Capture and Use of Methane
  5. Climate Change and Agriculture
  6. Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry
  7. Climate Change Science

New project under the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership

Capture and utilisation of coal mine methane

The project will demonstrate that ventilation air from coal mines, which is largely untapped to date, can be safely captured to provide a source of electricity. An additional benefit of using ventilation air methane from coalmines is an increase in mine safety due to the reduced risk of gas explosions. The project will be implemented by the CSIRO over three years commencing in early 2006 with the Australian Government contributing a grant worth $350 000 to this $1.9 million project.

For further information on the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership www.greenhouse.gov.au/international/partnerships

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