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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Media Release

Australia Renews Commitment on Greenhouse


19 July 1996
(89/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has told the global community that Australia will continue its efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Senator Hill has told the Second Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP2) in Geneva that Australia has been and remains a strong supporter of the development and implementation of the Convention.

Senator Hill has also given a commitment that Australia will continue to work toward a successful outcome at the COP 3 to be held in Kyoto next year.

Australia has, however, expressed its objections to sections of a Ministerial Declaration put before the Conference floor in Geneva.

Senator Hill has told the Conference that Australia has contributed to and endorses almost all that is in the statement.

"Australia does not, however, endorse the aspect of the statement which commits the Parties to include in the final instrument legally binding targets without the nature and context of those commitments being clear."

Senator Hill says to sign-off on legally binding targets before the Parties have had the chance to fully debate and understand what is involved is both premature and dangerous.

"For Australia to agree to this part of the statement would be tantamount to signing a blank cheque.

"Australia’s performance in limiting greenhouse gas emissions has been better then many OECD nations. Our achievements in energy efficiency in key industrial sectors rank with the best in the world. Although we still need to do better, there is no need to be embarrassed by our achievements.

"We will not be putting efficient industries in Australia at risk by signing-on prematurely to a process which has not been fully developed, articulated and explained.”

"We remain committed to the process of reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases but the final negotiation must lead to an outcome which is both fair and achievable."

Senator Hill noted that many nations, including New Zealand, had also expressed concern with sections of the Ministerial Statement.

A copy of Senator Hill's comments on the Declaration to the Conference is attached.

For further comment contact John Hewitt (06) 277 7780

Commonwealth of Australia