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Howard to Asia-Pacific Partnership

Transcript of the Prime Minister The Hon John Howard MP Address to the Asia-Pacific Partnership On Clean Development And Climate Inaugural Ministerial Meeting, Government House, Sydney

E&OE…

Well thank you very much Foreign Minister. Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, can I join my colleague Alexander Downer and also my colleagues Ian MacFarlane and Senator Ian Campbell in welcoming all of you to this inaugural meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

It is a very exciting meeting. It’s a very important meeting but its greatest virtue is that it’s a practical meeting. And the purpose of this meeting is to ensure that we address issues of climate change in a way that is consistent with economic growth and poverty reduction. It’s the very strong view of the Australian Government that we view those three objectives as ones that should be achieved in harmony and in partnership, and they should not be goals that are in a state of perpetual antagonism as we try and establish and embrace policies that are for the benefit of our societies and for the world in general.

I’m sure that all of you are very conscious of the reality that represented around the table at this meeting are nations that, near as done, given a point or two, represent half of the world’s energy consumption, half of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions, almost half of the world’s population and almost exactly half of the world’s gross domestic product. Just six countries, different countries in many respects, but countries united by a common commitment to achieve a practical realisation of not only successfully addressing the challenge of climate change, but also ensuring that we maintain the momentum of economic growth because it is only through economic growth and the continued benefits of globalisation that we can achieve poverty reduction. The idea that poverty reduction can be achieved in isolation from economic growth is unrealistic. The idea that economic growth can continue to be maintained at an acceptable level without addressing issues of climate change in a practical fashion is also unrealistic and equally the idea that we can address climate change matters successfully at the expense of economic growth, is not only unrealistic but it also unacceptable to the population of Australia which I represent, but I’m sure unacceptable to the populations of all the other countries that are represented around this table.

The Partnership recognises that there is no quick fix to the challenges of global climate change; that long term commitments and significant investments are needed to tackle the sustainable generation and use of energy. And that the acceleration of technology–especially low emissions technology, collaboration between governments, business and researchers to innovate and implement practical, achievable, economically sustainable solutions to climate change is the way forward.

I am, as the Foreign Minister also indicated, very pleased to welcome today the presence of the President of the Asian Development Bank, Mr Kuroda, because the involvement of international institutions is an important part of the process of addressing climate change matters.

The countries represented around this table have already invested many billions of dollars to addressing climate change matters. The Australian Government has been no exception. We have devoted $1.8 billion Australian dollars to addressing climate change in a manner that strongly reflects the common vision of this Partnership. For example, $500 million has already been allocated to demonstrating low-emission technologies with the private sector contributing an additional $1 billion, over $200 million towards a renewable energy development initiative, developing of solar city trials and addressing market impediments to the uptake of renewable energy technologies.

Today I wish to announce that Australia will build further on this strong commitment and invest an additional $100 million over five years to support clean development projects, capacity building activities and our ongoing role in the Partnership. And in recognition of the significant commitment to the development of renewable energy resources announced in our 2004 energy statement, 25 per cent of this additional $100 million will be specifically earmarked for renewable projects. Of course renewable projects will be able to compete on an equal footing for a share of the remaining $75 million of the additional contribution that Australia will make.

The Partnership that we are participating in today has the overwhelming support and co-operation of governments and I am very pleased, and this is integral to the success of what we are committed to, to have such a strong business delegation without an active partnership with the business community we are not going to achieve our goals without recognising that governments and business have a joint investment in the successful future resolution of climate change issues we will achieve our goals. The Asia-Pacific Partnership member countries, their industries and their research communities share common visions for new technology development and deployment across traditional and renewable energy sectors and technologies in the areas of clean coal, liquified natural gas, solar, wind and other renewable sources are examples of this.

The Partnership will work together to identify and address barriers to the deployment of technologies that will enhance our potential to achieve our key Partnership objectives. Experience has taught us that setting arbitrary targets does not result in achievable, practical solutions to global climate change and in this connection it’s interesting to note that the British Prime Minister and his G8 colleagues recognise that cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can only be achieved through technological co-operation and the involvement of large and fast growing economies, especially the United States, China and India. I could not have expressed it better myself. And that serves to underline from countries, I suppose, very heavily identified with the Kyoto process of which the Partnership is not a competitor, but more and augmenter; an additional activity to, that they recognise the great importance of the large, and in the case of China, India and the United States, fast growing economies, not only of the world but of our region.

I can indicate to you today ladies and gentlemen that the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics will later today release a report showing that with concerted and comprehensive effort the adoption and diffusion of cleaner technologies does have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in partner countries by almost 20 per cent below what would otherwise be the case by the year 2050. The spillover to the rest of the world could lead to a global cumulative reduction in emissions of some 13 per cent below what would otherwise occur over the same period. If this were to be borne out, such a result would be significant given that global energy consumption is expected to grow from nine billion tonnes of oil equivalent in 2001 to about 21 billion tonnes of oil equivalent in 2050. On this basis the adoption of new technologies are therefore a credible and essential part of any suite of measures needed to address global emissions growth.

In concluding my remarks and welcoming all of you to Australia, to Sydney, to the inaugural meeting of this Partnership, I do trust and I know that it will be the decision of this meeting to schedule another gathering at an appropriate time in an appropriate place in the year 2007. I return to the theme of my opening remarks, the responsibility we have is to recognise the enduring compatibility of addressing climate change issues, poverty reduction and economic growth in tandem. We should not make the mistake as many have made of imagining that a choice has to be made between economic growth and greenhouse gas emission reduction. That is a choice that our societies will not make. Our societies require of us that we find solutions to these issues that maintain the momentum of economic growth.

We have seen in many of the countries represented around this table, tens of millions of people lifted from poverty in the lifetime of all of us as a result of economic growth. And the astonishing success of poverty reduction policies based on economic growth in member countries of the Partnership will be apparent to all of you. So our populations, our electorates require of us to see the enduring compatibility of these three goals, not to see them as rivals and inevitably the focus that this Partnership will have on clean technology, on technology as a significant contributor to the solution to the climate change challenges that will become more apparent as the years go by. We have a responsibility to current and future generations to maintain that compatibility and I regard the Partnership as playing a fundamentally important role in realising that goal and I am personally delighted to host here in Sydney the representatives of our friends and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This is very much a landmark meeting and a meeting that as time goes by will be seen as having embraced, on behalf of the participating countries, the realistic achievement of the goals that I have outlined. I thank you and I wish your Ministerial deliberations well and I look forward to seeing a number of you later on during today.

Thank you very much.

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