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Archived media releases and speeches


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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

9 July 2002

Australia and the United States Working Together on Climate Change

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, met in Washington today with Dr Paula Dobriansky, US Undersecretary of State, to discuss the Australia-US Climate Action Partnership. Dr Kemp and Dr Dobriansky announced the first set of cooperative projects to be implemented under the Partnership.

"These 19 projects will make a real contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to increasing the world's scientific understanding of climate change," Dr Kemp said.

"The Government is committed to practical, effective action on climate change. The Partnership with the US demonstrates Australia's commitment to working with other countries to develop an effective and robust global regime that involves all major greenhouse gas emitters, including developing countries," Dr Kemp said.

Australia and the US will cooperate in the following key areas:

"These projects will boost technology development and scientific research on climate change. Some projects will result in new opportunities for Australian business," Dr Kemp said.

Project details are contained in the attached joint statement by the Australian and US Governments.

Media contact:
Frank Jackson (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 545 070

The US-Australia Climate Action Partnership Moves Forward

Following is the text of a joint press statement released today by Australia and the United States.

The governments of the United States and Australia announced in Washington today an initial work program under the US-Australia Climate Action Partnership, following meetings held between Dr David Kemp, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky. Dr Kemp will also meet this week with other senior members of the US Administration, including Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, CEQ Chairman James Connaughton, and Commerce Under Secretary and NOAA Administrator, Vice-Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Jr. The US-Australia Climate Action Partnership was announced in February of this year.

The work program announced today includes 19 projects in the following areas: climate change science and monitoring; renewable and reduced emission stationary energy technologies; engagement with business on technology development, and policy design and implementation; capacity building in developing countries; and greenhouse accounting in the forestry and agriculture sectors (see attachment for details of key outcomes from these projects).

Australia and the US share the view that there needs to be global action to address climate change and will continue to work together closely to address this long-term challenge. Both countries expressed confidence that the program of bilateral cooperation under the Partnership will contribute to an enhanced understanding of climate change and involve practical activities that will make a real contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in both countries.

Under Secretary Dobriansky noted that "The exchange of knowledge and experience on policies and approaches, developed by the US and Australia, to reduce greenhouse emissions will make both countries' domestic programs more effective." Other projects will facilitate science and business-to-business engagement on leading edge technology development. A key next step will be a workshop on the technology projects that will bring together government and business interests from both countries.

"Scientific cooperation under this partnership will assist in reducing key uncertainties and improving the capacity of climate science to inform policy making," Dr Kemp said. "Some projects are targeted at building the capacity of developing countries, particularly in the Pacific, to address climate change."

Both sides recognised the importance of adequate and effective protection of intellectual property associated with these projects.

The meetings between Dr Kemp and senior US officials provided a valuable opportunity to exchange views on climate change policy. US officials described efforts to meet the US goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emission intensity announced by President Bush on 14 February 2002. Dr Kemp outlined the substantial range of measures being taken by Australia to address climate change, including its efforts to improve energy efficiency. In doing so, Dr Kemp noted that "Australia has a substantial program of measures to address climate change and continues to implement them."

The governments of Australia and the United States expressed their firm intention to continue to work together closely to address the long-term challenge of climate change.

2002-2003 Australia - US Climate Action Partnership Activities

Climate Change Science and Monitoring

Australian and US scientists have responded positively and strongly to the opportunities presented by the Climate Action Partnership (CAP), based on their close working relationships, particularly in climate and ocean research and monitoring.

Six specific activities have been identified for the initial phase of the CAP. These projects build on existing collaboration and extend it into new and high priority areas. Each of the selected areas of activity is intended to benefit from joint application of US and Australian expertise, sharing of technology developments and Australia's proximity to key geographic regions in the climate system, such as Antarctica and the Indian and Southern oceans. The cooperation envisaged aims to reduce key uncertainties and improve the capacity of climate science to inform the policy making process.

Key outcomes of the CAP activities are expected to include:

A number of other areas have been identified and are under consideration for future engagement.

Stationary Energy Technologies

Collaboration under this theme will bring together Australian and US research and expertise on leading edge technologies to reduce emissions from the stationary energy sector including:

Engaging with Business - Technology Development

Collaboration under this theme focuses on technologies and industries that are global in scale in areas where Australia and the US have made significant investments, and/or have demonstrated technological leadership, and/or are developing policy frameworks to encourage transitions to new technologies. The initial three projects bring together Australian and US research and expertise on cutting edge technologies such as:

A number of other areas of possible future collaboration have been identified for further development (for example, technology roadmapping for the Alumina industry). These may be included at a later date in the Partnership.

Engaging with Business - Policies, Tools and Approaches

Engaging industry in cost-effective greenhouse abatement action is a key focus of both the US and Australia's domestic policy frameworks. The exchange of knowledge, experience and tools in areas such as developing and implementing programs to encourage, facilitate and leverage voluntary abatement action by industry; and the identification of common approaches to reporting and verification of emissions reductions (and possibilities for domestic crediting of these reductions), will assist in ongoing domestic policy and program development and providing greater certainty for industry over the longer term.

A focus will also be given to sharing experience in developing and implementing energy efficiency labelling and standards, promoting the adoption of common test procedures, and facilitating joint access to materials and methodologies that support labelling and standards programs by promoting best practice in energy use. It is expected that a key benefit of this collaboration will be the delivery of economic and greenhouse benefits to consumers and enhancement of the ability of manufacturers to compete in export markets.

Another area of focus will be improving the energy efficiency of, and consequent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from, the governments' own facilities primarily through sharing experience in, and tools for, developing and implementing programs to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings.

Collaboration with Developing Countries to Build Capacity to Address Climate Change

Australia and the US will work together with developing countries to help them address climate change, including through the adoption of effective energy and environmental policies. An early objective will be to help improve climate monitoring systems in developing countries.

Australian and US experts are already engaged in working towards these goals. Initial projects focus on the establishment and maintenance of robust and sustainable climate monitoring and data management systems in the Pacific. These projects will assist Pacific Island countries in accessing and applying climate and oceanographic information more effectively in climate-related risk management and adaptation to climate change.

Key deliverables planned in the first year of the CAP include:

Greenhouse Accounting in the Forestry and Agriculture Sector

With both the US and Australia having large and diverse land systems and with both making a major investment in accounting of greenhouse emissions and sinks from agriculture, land use change and forestry activities, the CAP provides a solid framework for collaborative efforts.

Activity under this theme is planned to focus initially on establishing a framework for enhanced cooperation and collaboration on:

These activities are expected to result in strengthened capabilities for integrated accounting systems for net greenhouse emissions from land systems; and a better understanding of processes and mechanisms controlling greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry systems. A senior experts workshop in late 2002 will plan and develop the detail of these projects.

In announcing the work program, both Australia and the US recognised the importance of adequate and effective protection of intellectual property associated with these projects.

Commonwealth of Australia