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Australia joins Kyoto protocol second commitment as world on track to 2015 climate change agreement

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THE HON GREG COMBET AM MP Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister for Industry and Innovation


Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation


GC 329/12 9 December 2012


The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus today announced that Australia has signed up to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol at the United Nations climate change conference in Doha.

The Kyoto Protocol is important as it was the first global treaty to set binding obligations on countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia’s ratification of Kyoto was one of the first acts of the Labor Government in 2007. Our willingness to join a second commitment period was widely welcomed at the Doha conference and provided impetus for progress at the talks.

“Last month I announced the Australian Government’s intention to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol subject to certain conditions being met at Doha," Mr Combet said.

"Our conditions have now been met and Australia has signed on.”

The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will commence on 1 January 2013 and end in 2020. Australia has agreed a Kyoto target to reduce its emissions in line with the bipartisan target of reducing emissions to five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

Australia retains the option of moving up its 2020 target range of 5 to 15 per cent, or 25 per cent, below 2000 levels if our target conditions relating to the extent of global action are met.

The decision to join a second commitment period does not constrain the role of the independent Climate Change Authority which will advise the Government on a national target and carbon budgets for the emissions trading scheme by early 2014.

Being part of Kyoto will ensure Australian businesses have guaranteed access to international credits under the Clean Development Mechanism, helping Australia to reduce carbon pollution at the lowest cost to the economy.

However, the Kyoto Protocol will not be enough on its own which is why it is important that the Doha conference also made progress towards a new global emissions reduction agreement.

This was the first year of a four-year negotiation on the new agreement and progress was encouraging. The new agreement will be concluded by 2015 and take effect from 2020.

It will be the first international climate change agreement to require action by all major emitters including the United States, Japan, India and China. The Doha outcome makes clear that this will be an agreement with legal force and that all countries will be covered.

“In Doha we have seen further progress on shaping a new global agreement to tackle the challenge of climate change and Australia has played an important part,” said Mark Dreyfus who led negotiations on Australia’s behalf and chaired the influential Umbrella Group of countries at the Doha conference.

Doha laid the foundations for the new global agreement and set out a timetable for achieving agreement by 2015.

There was also a focus at Doha on ways of increasing climate change action before 2020. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that a global leaders’ summit will be convened in 2014 to increase climate action before the new agreement starts in 2020.

Countries are not waiting for the global agreement to commence before cutting emissions. Like Australia, they are taking action to transition their economies now.

By the time the global agreement comes into operation, a carbon price will already be operating in fifty countries covering around three billion people.

Next year alone, new emissions trading schemes or carbon taxes are expected to commence at a national or regional level in China, the United States, Canada, South Africa and Ukraine.

The outcomes of the Doha conference support the domestic actions of the Australian Government and take the world closer to a new global agreement to tackle climate change.

Media contact: Mark Davis (Mr Combet) 0400 295 560 Giulia Baggio (Mr Dreyfus) 0400 918 776