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ALJAZEERA World News -

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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW - ALJAZEERA WITH SIR DAVID FROST

SUBJECT: COPENHAGEN, CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION SCHEME

FROST: It's been called the most important meeting since the Second World War. But nearly half-way
through the Copenhagen summit, arguments are raging about how the world should tackle climate
change. Meanwhile, scientists have warned this week that the world has ten years to stop
catastrophic global warming. So with just 7 days to go, can a deal be reached? I'm joined by the
Australian Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong.

Thursday's main event was a proposal from George Soros that would give poor countries access to a
$100 billion loan to tackle the effect of climate change. On the face of it, this proposal could
break the impasse between rich and poor countries on financing. Do you think that's true, that this
was an important step or not?

WONG: It was an important contribution and a welcome one. Finance is certainly a key part of what
we have to negotiate here. But if you sit back and say: what is the outcome we need? We need a
deal, we need an agreement - there are a number of key components to that. Finance is one of them,
but obviously another is the environmental outcome. That is the reduction of greenhouse gases that
we need to tackle climate change and that is something that has to come from all countries across
the globe and that is what makes this such a challenging negotiation. Because we're all in it.

FROST: And it was a setback, presumably, that the Senate rejected your bill in Australia. That was
discouraging to you, wasn't it?

WONG: It was a setback for us. We wanted to come to Copenhagen with our plan to meet our targets.
Because ultimately, developed countries and developing countries can only tackle climate change if
we change our economies. And this was the legislation that gave us the plan to do that. We'll
re-present it; we'll continue to have that fight domestically. Because it's the right thing to do.
It is in Australia's national interest, just as it is in the national interest of all the nations
of the world to come forward with their plans and their commitments to meet their reductions in the
greenhouse gases we're putting into the atmosphere.

FROST: You've said that if the rest of the world will do cuts of five to 15 per cent you'll do the
same. If they go to 25 per cent, you can do the same. If you can go to 25 per cent, why don't you?
Whatever the rest of the world says, because it's still a good idea presumably?

WONG: Well there are two points. The first is an economic point. In Australia, as in any other
country, it is cheaper, more affordable, to reduce emissions if other people are doing it. You
don't get the same issues in terms of your trade competitiveness, in terms of your industries'
competitiveness. So if we all act, it is cheaper for us to act than if only some of us act. So we
have said that we will do more if the rest of the world does more. We have also, frankly, put it
forward to say we're all in this together. If the world is prepared to act, Australia is there.
We're prepared to go for a much more significantly deep target. Which in the context of our economy
and our increasing population is a very ambitious target. But we are prepared to go that far if
other people are. And that is a reflection of the challenge we face and the challenge all of us
face here. We have to get action across the globe. We have to get agreement across the globe.
Because climate change is not going to be fixed by one, two or a few people, a few countries. It
will only be fixed if we get commitments from all nations here.

FROST: You say we're all in this together. Presumably the two nations that have got to come through
in the next few days are the United States and China. Without a strong move from these two, this
conference is doomed isn't it?

WONG: They are the foundation of any agreement. I mean there are nations who have to be part of the
agreement for the agreement to be effective, for the agreement to be comprehensive. And China and
the United States are clearly first amongst them. As Australia, we will keep encouraging China and
the US to put forward their commitments. But obviously we need more than that - we need everybody.
And we need to get all of the world to be prepared to act.

FROST: You're right to smile there, because it's quite a target isn't it? Getting the whole world
to act in seven days, that's a hell of a target?

WONG: It is and in your introduction I think you said it's been billed as the most important
meeting since World War II. Certainly what we're trying to do here is to bring the world together
in a way the world has not come together before. And what this process needs is for people not to
get into the posturing, to stop getting into blame shifting, to stop finger pointing. We need
people who are prepared to be, I suppose, friends of the process, constructive. Supporting the
Danish Government as the Chair of this process in getting an agreement on the table that delivers
the best outcome, that takes us forward over the years to come and starts to set the world on the
trajectory that scientists are already saying. We have a small window of opportunity here. If we do
not get the world to start to shift the growth in emissions in the next six to ten years, then this
generation of political leaders will have lost the opportunity to constrain climate change, to
constrain temperature rise to levels that we believe we can manage.

FROST: Do you think it's likely that at the end of this week to come that there will be a meeting
of minds and hearts as well between the developed nations and the developing nations or do you see
that split widening?

WONG: It is tough; it's going to be tough. So I'm not thinking that this is going to be easy. But
there is room for movement. This has always been an issue of political will. If nations have the
political will, we can get an agreement. It is an extremely positive thing that so many world
leaders will be flying in next week. Leaders representing the majority of the world's population
and the majority of the world's emissions and the majority of the world's economy. That is a good
thing because that is the sort political leadership that is needed. With the right political will,
we can get the agreement that the world needs.

FROST: Thank you very much indeed for joining us Penny and we hope you

have a stimulating and successful week.

WONG: It's good to speak with you, thanks very much.