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Archived media releases and speeches

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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Hon Alexander Downer, MP

15 February 2002

Response to President Bush's Announcement on Climate Change


We welcome President Bush's statement today outlining a major initiative by his Administration to address climate change. The United States has a key role to play in global efforts to deal with the serious, long-term threat posed by climate change.

The Government remains of the view that to be effective, action to address climate change needs to include all major emitters, including the United States and developing countries.

We welcome the comprehensive range of measures announced by the United States to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of its economy.

Elements of the approach outlined by President Bush appear consistent with Australia's long-standing views on how climate change can best be addressed.

Australia has argued strongly for climate change measures that are cost-effective and that minimise the impact on the trade competitiveness of countries that implement them. We welcome the emphasis in the President's statement on the need for a workable climate change regime to be economically manageable.

Australia has also underlined the importance of engaging developing countries on the level of their future emissions of greenhouse gases. We support the United States' emphasis on engaging developing countries in effective emissions reduction activities, including through research, technology transfer and capacity building, while recognising the importance of their continued economic growth.

The Government will closely examine its future climate change strategy in the light of the approach outlined by President Bush and developments in relation to the Kyoto Protocol.

We look forward to continuing Australia's close dialogue with the United States on climate change and Dr Kemp plans to visit Washington in the near future. Dr Kemp also intends to discuss climate change with the European Union and other countries soon after.

The Government regards the threat posed by climate change as an issue of great importance and has made a major investment of almost $1 billion in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We remain committed to maintaining a strong domestic climate change program.

Media contacts:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400 (Dr David Kemp)
Matt Francis (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890 (Mr Downer)

Commonwealth of Australia