2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference speech

December 1, 2015

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Mr President, Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

From Australia we come with confidence and optimism.

We are not daunted by our challenge.

It inspires us. It energises us.

We do not doubt the implications of the science, or the scale of the challenge.

But above all we do not doubt the capacity of humanity to meet it - with imagination, innovation and the prudence that befits those, like us, who make decisions that will affect not just our own children and grandchildren but generations yet unborn.

And Mr President while we come to you in Paris with our deepest condolences, we bring you the most resolute solidarity in our common cause for freedom in the face of terrorism.

Here in Paris Australia supports a new – and truly global – climate agreement.

It is an agreement that must drive humanity’s capacity for inventiveness and a new wave of technological advances.

Good for our environment, good for our economies.

I join over 150 leaders in calling for a strong and effective agreement.

And over 180 countries have now announced post-2020 targets.

This is an extraordinary effort.

For Australia’s part, our 2030 target represents real economic effort, and will halve our per capita emissions – one of the biggest reductions of any G20 country.

We will meet and beat our 2020 emissions reduction target.

Today I  announce that Australia will ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

We firmly believe that it is innovation and technology which will enable us both to drive stronger economic growth and a cleaner environment.

We are a highly social and innovative species and so the more we share innovative technologies, the better they will become.

Today Australia joins with many other countries in supporting Mission Innovation which aims to double investment in clean energy innovation over the next five years.

Australian universities are at the forefront of energy and climate science innovation.

To give one example, the University of New South Wales has held the world record for solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 32 years.

And by 2018 over 60 per cent of the world’s solar cells are to use technology developed by Australian researchers.

But our task, and that of the technologies we deploy, is not just to reduce emissions.

The impacts of global warming are already being felt and will continue to be so even after we reach global net zero emissions.

Adaption to the impacts of climate change is equally important and there too innovation is a key.

Some of the most vulnerable nations are our Pacific neighbours and we are helping them to build resilience through practical action and assistance.

To this end, Australia will contribute at least $1 billion over the next five years from our existing aid budget both to build climate resilience and reduce emissions.

Our agreement here in Paris must provide a common platform for action, the dynamism to build ambition and a robust and transparent reporting system.

Australia is not daunted by the challenge. With great optimism and faith in humanity’s genius for invention, we are confident that with your leadership, Mr President, we will, in common cause, secure our future.





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