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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
July 22, 2001
Journalist - How would the idea of getting credit for clean fuel we might flog off to (inaudible) can you give me an idea how that might work?
Hill - Well LNG exports from Australia for example often substitute for much carbon intensive alternatives in Asia, say coal in China and sometimes very poor quality coal. So it delivers a better greenhouse outcome in terms of the global sense but Australia doesn't get any credit for that, in fact we get a penalty for carbon that's emitted in association with the production of the gas and the transport of the gas.
Journalist - So what would you like to see happen?
Hill - Well I think if Australia could get some credit for the benefit that It's providing through that cleaner fuel to Asia then that would help offset the carbon penalty that we accept as a developed nation and that encourages us to build our market in cleaner products which help deliver a better global greenhouse outcome.
Journalist - And the second thing, this vexing question of getting some sorts of commitments from developing countries, can you explain what the idea is there?
Hill - Well it's been a goal of ours to get commitments from the developing world because they are about to overtake the developed world in greenhouse gas emissions so in terms again of a better global outcome we need them on board. And we've been trying to find ways of encouraging them to come on board and there is a possibility that out of this meeting they will be a new special greenhouse fund set up. And we're suggesting that developing nations that want to participate in that would have to provide the bank, in effect, details of their program and how it fits in with their national greenhouse gas abatement plans and we see that as a step in the right direction which is ultimately towards some commitments.
Journalist - You're making quite a lot of progress with the EU on quite a number of the sticking points.
Hill - Yes I think so. On a number of the issues like supplementarity and sinks, it's premature to draw any firm conclusions in relation to an outcome from that progress but the atmosphere is quite constructive and I think were making some progress.
Date 22 July 2001
Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 0419 693 515