Climate | Environment | Emissions Reduction

We have gone to Paris with the intention of being a deeply constructive country

What we’ve done is we’ve gone to Paris with the intention of being a deeply constructive country, Federal Minister for the Environment the Hon. Greg Hunt has told a CEDA audience.

“On our watch we have met and beaten our targets, we have announced we would ratify Kyoto, and we have helped, genuinely broker the agreements for the Montreal Protocol and for Kyoto 2,” he said.

Arriving back from the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Paris, Mr Hunt discussed the negotiations taking place and how Australia is participating in them.

“I hope and I genuinely believe that this weekend we will see a historic and successful agreement in Paris,” he said.

“At the end of the day I think the message to take away is that we will meet our targets to 2020, we will beat our targets to 2020, we will meet our targets to 2030 and we will be in a (good) position…if the world comes back in five years to make future considerations. 

“During week one there were three big things that we did outside of the Kyoto negotiations. One, we signed onto the mission innovation statement of the United States. That was a commitment to double investment in R&D by 2020 on an annual basis in the clean energy space. So this is about reducing the emissions that go up.

“Two, we led a global rainforest recovery initiative and if you want to see what is different about this conference apart from the fact we will get a global agreement, it’s the fact it’s not just the focus on what goes up, there’s now a huge focus on ecosystems and on what comes down meaning the absorption capacity and the recovery of our forests and soils and then the role of the oceans in terms of mangroves, salt bush and sea grass.

“For example Australia on a preliminary inventory has about two and a half billion tonnes of carbon stored in our mangroves and other blue carbon resources that equates to about nine billion tonnes of Co2. 

“We’re number two in the world after Indonesia in terms of total mangrove areas and so our two big initiatives were… to drive a global rainforest recovery initiative and to drive a blue carbon partnership at a global level…the support was overwhelming.

“The other thing of course is our targets and we were able to announce and the Prime Minister announced that not only will Australia meet officially our 2020 targets…but that we will sign on and ratify the Kyoto 2 period.

“More than that, our 2030 target is also right at the very significant level.

“The next wave beyond 2030 will also come with technological change. The innovation statement goes directly to that but so does the work that we’re currently doing,” he said.