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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
29 April 1998
The Howard Government has signalled Australia’s strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by signing the Kyoto Protocol.
Environment Minister Robert Hill, who led Australia’s delegation in the successful Kyoto negotiations, has signed the protocol at the UN Commission for Sustainable Development in New York.
Australia has been joined by more than 20 other key countries including Japan, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Brazil and Norway in signing the protocol this week.
Under the Kyoto Agreement, developed nations will reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5 per cent on 1990 levels by the year 2012. Australia will make a significant contribution to this effort by dramatically reducing our projected growth in emissions to 8 per cent.
Senator Hill says no-one should under-estimate the challenge posed by Australia’s target.
“Australia did not get a free ride in Kyoto. We argued for and obtained a challenging but realistic target which was both environmentally and economically responsible.
“Today’s signing will again send a strong signal to the international community that Australia is prepared to accept a fair share of the burden.
“In fact we are already ahead of the game in many respects in taking concrete action to reduce emissions.
“We have established the Australian Greenhouse Office to implement the $180 million worth of initiatives contained in the Prime Minister’s statement on reducing greenhouse emissions. We will work with the community, industry, and State and local governments to meet this national challenge.”
Senator Hill says Australia will now work constructively with the international community to resolve several outstanding issues before considering ratifying the protocol.
These include developing an emission trading system, settling methodologies for the measurement of emissions from land use change and the forestry sector, establishing
the Clean Development Mechanism, and the engagement of developing countries.
The protocol will also be subjected to the Government’s usual international treaty processes before ratification.
Media contact - Matt Brown on 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515 April 29, 1998 (45/98)