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Media Release
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 December 2004

Labor wrong on Minister's invitation to Kyoto conference

Claims today by the Labor Party that Australia was not invited to next week's climate change talks in Buenos Aires are false. Labor is also wrong in claiming that Australian companies will be shut out of an international carbon trading system because it has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

The meeting in Buenos Aires is the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Australia is a Party to the Convention and plays an extremely active role in its activities and decisions.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, who is leading the Australian delegation, said today: "Far from being unwelcome, I have been invited to speak as a panelist for a ministerial discussion on the impacts of climate change, adaptation measures and sustainable development. This invitation clearly recognises the valuable contribution that Australia is making in this area."

Australia is also chairing the Umbrella Group, a negotiating group of 10 like-minded countries on many climate change issues, which includes some of our trading partners, such as the United States, Japan and New Zealand. Other members are Canada, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"While in Buenos Aires I will also be participating in a number of key bilateral meetings with my ministerial colleagues from other countries, including the US, UK, China, Argentina, Republic of Korea, Japan, the EU, and Canada. In particular, I will be discussing the need for climate change action beyond the Kyoto Protocol and Australia's offer to host a ministerial conference on this issue in early 2005.

"I will also discuss our practical initiatives, such as our offer to make available Australia's leading edge technology for carbon accounting, and to promote climate change cooperation throughout the Asia Pacific region."

Senator Campbell said under Kyoto rules, companies from countries that are not parties to the protocol were not automatically shut out of carbon trading or projects under the Clean Development Mechanism.

"Mechanisms for establishing a trading system are still in the development stage and there remains uncertainty as to how large or effective a market for carbon credits will be, what the transaction costs might be and how individual countries will interpret and apply the rules," he said.

"The Buenos Aires conference is between 6-17 December, with the ministerial segment from 15-17 December and a series of bilateral meetings from 12-14 December.

Wayne Grant 02 6277 7640 or 0407 845 280

Commonwealth of Australia