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New global system to monitor forests.

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Alexander Downer MP Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Malcolm Turnbull MP Australian Minister for the Environment

and Water Resources

23 July 2007


Australia will lead action to establish a new global system to monitor changes in forest cover and forest carbon levels as part of its $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the initiative today at a High Level Meeting on Forests and Climate being held in Sydney. Participants from more than 60 countries, along with several hundred delegates from international, environmental and business organisations are attending the three-day meeting.

“The ability to measure and monitor changes in forest cover is critical to international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing global deforestation and supporting sustainable forest management,” Mr Downer said.

“Australia is inviting partner countries to work with us to link national, regional, and international systems to create a truly global system to monitor forest cover and carbon levels.

“This new Global Carbon Monitoring System will be supported by remote sensing satellite monitoring technology and on-the-ground carbon accounting activities.

“By providing better access to historical data and providing timely access to new data, it will support countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.”

Minister Turnbull said Australia had much to offer other countries in this area of expertise.

“Our world-leading National Carbon Accounting System has underpinned Australia’s success in reducing land clearing and the associated greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Turnbull said.

“In 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in Australia from deforestation were 129 million tonnes. These are projected to fall by 65 percent by 2010. We have also planted more than 1.1 million hectares of new forests, which by 2010 will remove 21 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

“The Global Initiative on Forests and Climate provides the framework for Australia to share our technology and experiences with partner countries to help them monitor their forests and carbon levels.”

Through the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate, Australia will be building satellite receiving stations to help countries in the Asia Pacific region better monitor their forest cover

and carbon. This Global Carbon Monitoring System will extend this capacity beyond the Asia Pacific region.

“Global deforestation is a serious issue that impacts on climate change, local economies, and the environment. Every day, more than 70,000 football fields of forest are removed globally - this is around 1.6 billion trees each year.

“This is a situation we can and must reverse quickly and this Initiative will help us do so,” Mr Turnbull said.

Media contacts: Minister Downer: Malcolm Cole 02 6277 7500 Minister Turnbull: Brad Burke 02 6277 7640 or 0400 337 252