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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
10 November 1998
Australia's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have won international praise at the Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) says the Howard government has been a world leader in encouraging local governments to take up the challenge of cutting emissions.
ICLEI founded the Cities for Climate Protection program, a world-wide campaign now covering more than 260 local governments who have made a commitment to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions.
ICLEI has told a Conference meeting that the Howard government's commitment to the program has seen local governments in Australia signing up at a faster rate than any other nation.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has welcomed the praise and renewed Australia's commitment to the program.
"The ICLEI praise is recognition that Australia is working hard to ensure we meet the commitments we made at Kyoto.
"With local governments estimated to have an influence over more than 50 per cent of greenhouse emissions, this sector will play a crucial role in delivering on the Kyoto commitment.
"This is why the Prime Minister has pledged $13 million to rapidly expand the Cities for Climate Protection program - understood to be the largest financial commitment by a national government to this important program.
"Already our support has seen 30 local governments involved in a successful pilot phase with a further 20 expected to join the program by Christmas.
"I have been able to inform the meeting today that Australia now aims to involve 200 local governments in the program by 2003. Together the councils will cover more than half of Australia's population.
"It is further evidence that Australia is a world leader in implementing domestic actions needed to combat the threat of global warming. We are not just talking about targets and how to meet them, we are taking concrete actions to deliver."
ICLEI's International Director for the Cities for Climate Change program, Mr Phil Jessup, congratulated Australia for the commitment and leadership of its local governments on greenhouse issues.
"We have 260 local governments around the world involved in CCP - from Berlin to Budapest, Naples to Calcutta. Of all the countries that have taken part, Australia has been the fastest in its numbers of councils joining the program," he said.
"The Australian Government has also funded CCP Australia by $13 million over five years. This is the largest commitment we know among the national governments we have been working with, including the United States, Canada and Germany.
"We congratulate Australia for being enthusiastic environmental leaders on greenhouse issues at the local level. Once the governments' action plans are underway, they will be showing how local action can deliver global results in our battle against global warming."
CCP Australia is being implemented jointly in Australia by the Australian Greenhouse Office and the local government environment network, Environs Australia.
Local governments that join CCP make a commitment to undertake five "greenhouse milestones" under the program. These are to: establish an emissions baseline; provide an emissions forecast; set a target for reducing emissions; develop an action plan to meet the target; and implement the action plan.
Contact: Matt Brown, Senator Hill's office, telephone (02) 6277 7640