Thirteen days ago, Leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit agreed an historic Sydney Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development.

The Leaders agreed to work actively and constructively towards a comprehensive post-2012 arrangement at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. Crucially, the Leaders agreed that an equitable and effective post-2012 international climate change arrangement must draw on the seven principles:

First, the principle of comprehensiveness. This means that all economies contribute to shared global goals in ways that are equitable, and environmentally and economically effective.

Second, is the need to respect different domestic circumstances and capacities.

Third, is the importance of flexibility and recognising diverse approaches and practical actions.

Fourth, is the important role for co-operation on low and zero emissions energy sources and technologies, particularly coal and other fossil fuels.

Fifth, is the importance of addressing forests and land use in the post-2012 arrangement.

Sixth, is the importance of promoting open trade and investment.

And, seventh, is the importance of support for effective adaptation strategies.

The APEC Leaders also agreed to work towards achieving an APEC-wide regional aspirational goal of a reduction in energy intensity of at least 25 per cent by 2030, and an APEC-wide aspirational goal of increasing forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020.

The APEC agreement underlines the momentum behind a growing global commitment to tackle the challenge of climate change. This positive outcome … reinforces the UN Framework Convention and provides us with a guide for the work that lies ahead, including at Bali.

Australia calls on all Parties in Bali to resolve a new mandate for the Convention to move beyond Kyoto. We need to forge a comprehensive new agreement that leads to a global reduction in emissions.

Australia has pledged $200 million to help developing countries avoid deforestation and promote reforestation through our Global Initiative on Forests and Climate.

The (Australian) Government will implement a national cap and trade emissions trading system with the aim of commencing by 2011. … And, as part of our commitment to supporting low emission sources, Australia will introduce a new national Clean Energy Target, requiring that 30,000 gigawatt hours each year come from low emissions sources by 2020.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we pledge our support to Indonesia in its role as President of the Conference in Bali as we strive to achieve truly global and effective climate change arrangements.

For the full text of Mr Downer’s presentation, click here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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