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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
11 December 1997
The Kyoto Protocol was a landmark agreement for the global environment, the Australian Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, said in Japan today.
"This is the first time that the international community has agreed on specific and substantive measures to combat climate change." Senator Hill said.
Speaking after the announcement that Australia should limit its greenhouse gas emissions to an 8 per cent rise in emissions over 1990 levels, Senator Hill said this was a win-win result that required a comparable sacrifice from Australians to that being borne by other nations.
The Minister said that Australia's consistent and reasoned commitment to reduce global warming during the 11-day Third Session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) in Kyoto had paid off.
"Australia led the quest for a differentiated response to the climate change problem as part of a concerted international effort to combat global warming," he said.
"We have achieved a differentiated outcome which is more equitable for Australia than many would have thought possible, based on international acceptance of our specific national circumstances," Senator Hill said.
"We argued for a comprehensive approach to the coverage of the agreement to include all sources, sinks and gases, and have successfully negotiated a result which meets these objectives under the current agreement or its successor," the Minister said. "We are pleased that the protocol recognises what Australia is doing to reduce land clearing."
Senator Hill said developing countries would be encouraged to consider taking on future commitments under the agreement through jointly implemented activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Kyoto Protocol protects Australia's export competitiveness and employment prospects in Australia's substantial mineral processing and energy export industries," he said. "The agreement to establish a greenhouse gas emissions trading regime will be an essential component of this."
11 December 1997