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Government shuts down greenhouse gas project on eve of climate talks.

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Media Release The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water Friday, 5 December 2008 Government Shuts Down Greenhouse Gas Project on eve of Climate Talks As the world goes to Poland for high level talks on climate change, the Rudd Government has shut down an Australian not-for-profit organisation working to reduce damaging greenhouse gas emissions. It has frozen funds to the Green Cooling Council established by the Howard Government to help companies to reduce harmful emissions of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs). The Rudd Government’s actions have forced it to go into voluntary administration - closing its doors and putting a stop to its important service. It has been helping companies to reduce their HFC emissions by half by updating their refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The reduction of HFCs is extremely important - one kilogram of HFC is equivalent to nearly four tonnes of CO2. The Howard Government provided the Green Cooling Council with $2 million to assist efforts in Australia to reduce HFCs. So just as Penny Wong prepares to fly out to the UN Climate Change meeting at Poznan in Poland, the Government has effectively shut down an organisation vital to the fight against damaging greenhouse gas emissions. But Peter Garrett is refusing to answer questions on the issue - he’s hiding behind his department. Journalists calling his office are being diverted to public servants who are being left to explain the Government’s decision. I have written a ‘please explain’ letter demanding answers from Mr Garrett. It is not good enough for him to be hiding behind the department on this issue. He’s either in charge of his portfolio or he is not. For a government that claims to be so concerned about the environment, we now see them closing down a company working to reduce greenhouse gases. It is the height of hypocrisy on the part of a Government that used the environment as a political strategy.