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

14 September 2006

Minister tells the world: Standby for greenhouse gas reductions

The world could achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gases simply by changing the ‘standby’ power standards for household appliances like TVs and computers, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, told an international forum in Zurich today.

“Standby power is one of the silent enemies of the global climate. Even when you’re not using them and appliances look like they are turned off, they are often in standby mode and are consuming electricity – generating greenhouse gases,” Senator Campbell said.

“In Australia, 10 per cent of power is spent keeping household appliances on ‘standby’. The average Australian home has about 40 such appliances, together generating about 750kg of greenhouse gas each year.

“However, by changing appliance standards, we can reduce standby power consumption by at least half without any real impact on consumer behaviour and our appliances will still operate effectively. In Australian alone, this would save the Australian community more than 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and about $350 million annually.

“Australia was the first country to publicly pursue the ‘one-watt’ standby power target identified by the IEA and by 2012 only appliances that use acceptable levels of power while in standby mode will be eligible for sale here.”

Speaking at an invitation-only climate change summit in Zurich, Senator Campbell invited his international counterparts to a conference Australia is hosting on standby power in November.

“The Standby Conference 2006 will foster global cooperation by seeking to develop an internationally consistent model to address excessive standby power consumption and will build on past efforts by Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the International Energy Agency”.

“The conference is being supported by APEC, the IEA and the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. It’s another example of Australia’s practical approach to international action on climate change and the role low emission technologies can play in addressing climate change.”

Senator Campbell is in Zurich to attend an informal Ministerial climate change summit, bringing together Ministers from about 30 countries to discuss a global response to climate change ahead of the annual meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Nairobi in November.

For more information on the Standby Conference 2006 visit

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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