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

Wednesday 15th November 2006

Statement to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change

Mr President, thank you for your gracious and warm welcome. I would also like to thank Kenya for taking on the presidency and hosting this meeting. It is a great responsibility – not least managing six thousand climate delegates descending on the city – but most importantly it is helping to deliver progress on our important climate change agenda.

Climate change is an extremely important issue for us all. The impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world, and the potential future dangers are serious.

Australia is very committed to playing its part in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Domestically, we have been taking practical action for many years. We have committed $2 billion to real projects to address climate change.

We are committed to meeting the target we negotiated at Kyoto, and as a result of our action we are on track to meet it.

We are also making the substantial public and private sector investments in the technologies that will make possible the larger cuts in global emissions necessary in the years ahead to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

It has been made very clear at this conference, however, that developed countries alone cannot achieve the kinds of cuts the science tells us are needed.

Even with zero emissions from these countries by mid-century, given shifts in the distribution of global economic activity, we would not be close to achieving the cuts needed unless the current growth in emissions in developing countries is seriously curbed.

Our actions need to be supported by a truly effective international framework. This means a framework that supports action by all major economies to protect the climate we all share.

Australia has consistently argued that the world needs a truly global and comprehensive response to climate change – or what Australia has recently coined New Kyoto.

Australia’s push for a New Kyoto calls for an improved, more effective, global response that involves all major economies; that will deliver real benefits for the environment; and that fits the national circumstances of all countries.

In this regard, Australia would like to see agreement to an analytical work program to form the basis of a comprehensive review of the Kyoto Protocol.

Australia is also pleased to be chairing with South Africa the dialogue discussions on long-term climate change action. We certainly see those discussions as an incredibly important opportunity to talk about new ideas including what we call the New Kyoto framework.

Let me reassure you that no one expects developing countries to sacrifice social imperatives such as poverty eradication. At a global level we need continued economic and social development - and increased access to energy is a core element of that.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time means we need a range of actions and policies, recognising that different countries have different circumstances.

It also means we need a strong focus on technology development and deployment.

Australia is doing this domestically, where major public-private investments have just been announced from the construction of the world’s largest solar power station to promoting clean coal technologies.

We are also doing this internationally through the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate as well as through bilateral and technical partnerships.

Mr President, adapting to the impacts of climate change is also a key priority. The convention must continue its supportive work in this area, and therefore Australia is very pleased that we reached agreement yesterday on the initial actions to be undertaken under the five year programme of work on adaptation. It is important that this work is integrated in wider national and international development efforts.

I am delighted to announce that Australia will be hosting and funding a training program for experts from Pacific Island countries to further develop their capacity to access funding for climate change projects, with a particular focus on adaptation.

As well as progress on adaptation, Australia welcomes the agreement to extend the mandate of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer for a further year so that the important work of this group can continue.

We also welcome the agreement to continue the important discussions on reducing deforestation in developing countries. I am very pleased to announce that Australia will host and fund the second UN climate change workshop on avoided deforestation in developing countries, with New Zealand as co-host.

Mr President, Australia comes to this conference very committed to working constructively with all Parties. If we are to respond effectively to climate change, it will require cooperation and participation from all of us. Australia extends its support to you for a successful conclusion at this conference and looks forward to working with all Parties in the years ahead in developing a successful international response to this serious global challenge.

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