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Australia influential in climate talks, says -

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Professor Ross Garnaut has urged the Government to take a leading role and the climate change
summit in Copenhagen next month.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The author of Australia's climate change review Professor Ross Garnaut has
called on the Federal Government to flex its muscle and take a leading role at next month's climate
change summit in Copenhagen.

In a speech tonight, Professor Garnaut said Australia shouldn't underestimate its ability to
influence the United States in the lead-up to the conference, which will define the international
response to climate change.

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART, REPORTER: World leaders will gather here in Copenhagen to try and thrash out an
international agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

In a speech in Adelaide tonight Professor Ross Garnaut called on the Australian Government to
support moves by the US President Barack Obama to take a stronger stance on climate change.

PROF. ROSS GARNAUT, ECONOMIST AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADVISER: We were very influential when we joined
President Bush in opposing climate change mitigation and we will be similarly influential if we
were seen as being clearly on the other side.

JOHN STEWART: Four months ago the US President pushed a bill to reduce emissions through the House
of Representatives. It was a landmark bill, seen by many as the first major action by the United
States to address climate change.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing
our planet in jeopardy. It's happening and there's no longer a question about whether the jobs and
industries of the 21st century will be centred around clean renewable energy.

JOHN STEWART: But Obama's climate change bill still faces a major battle to clear the US Senate.

Professor Garnaut says that if Australia's emissions trading scheme is passed through the Senate
before the Copenhagen summit it would send a strong signal to the world that Australia is serious
about reducing climate change.

PROF. ROSS GARNAUT: It would be a clear indication that we were serious about reaching our targets
and most importantly, it would be a signal to Americans that we were heading in the same direction
as President Obama.

JOHN STEWART: Without the support of America, China and India, the Copenhagen conference may fail
to produce an international agreement to curb emissions.

At a meeting with European leaders in the White House today the US President was optimistic about
next month's summit.

BARACK OBAMA: We discussed climate change extensively and all of us agreed that it was imperative
for us to redouble our efforts in the weeks between now and the Copenhagen meeting to ensure that
we create a framework for progress in dealing with what is a potential ecologic disaster.

JOHN STEWART: European leaders were also talking up the chances of cutting an international deal
next month.

JOSÉ MANUEL BARROSO, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISION: President Obama changed the climate on the
climate negotiations, because with the strong leadership of the United States we can indeed make an
agreement. We are working for a framework agreement in Copenhagen that will be an important
agreement for the world.

JOHN STEWART: But there's widespread scepticism that an international agreement will be reached in
Copenhagen and a growing belief that the summit may only produce a framework for future
negotiations.

John Stewart, Lateline.