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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the latest greenhouse gas figures reinforce the importance of the Australia's emission reduction efforts
The 1998 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, released today, shows that Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in 1998 were 16.9 per cent above 1990 levels.
Senator Hill says the Government has taken timely action to reduce emission levels in line with our Kyoto Protocol commitments.
"Following the Kyoto Conference our critics falsely claimed that Australia would have to do nothing to reach its target. They have been proven wrong.
"Our Kyoto target was always going to be difficult to achieve and these figures confirm that. Strong economic growth in the face of the Asian economic crisis has made that task even harder.
"But it must be remembered that we have invested almost $1 billion in action programs to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.
"These include programs to support renewable energy technology, promote energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable sources of electricity.
"The government has just announced a call for applications for the latest of these programs, the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program. This program will see $400 million invested in projects aimed at delivering maximum abatement of gases per dollar investment.
"We are also in the process of passing legislation to require Australia's electricity suppliers to significantly increase the amount of energy they generate from renewable sources. The importance of this measure is highlighted by figures in the latest Inventory showing electricity generation contributing 37 per cent of national emissions.
"These actions will deliver reductions in the years to come but we must not be complacent. It is far more sensible to take precautionary action at today's prices than face more radical measures at a future date, at a future inflated price."
Senator Hill says the figures highlight the importance of all levels of government, industry, and the community playing their role in reducing greenhouse emissions.
Media contact - Matt Brown on 0419 693 515
Details of the 1998 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory are available from www.greenhouse.gov.au
July 13, 2000