Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark have outlined a joint effort between their countries directed at climate change.
“On climate change, the fact that both Australia and New Zealand now are full ratification states in relation to the Kyoto Protocol means that we have an unprecedented opportunity to work closely and seamlessly globally in the international negotiations which will now take place between now and the end of the Bali road map, which concludes at the Copenhagen conference at the end of 2009,” Rudd said at a joint press conference. Rudd added that these are going to be difficult and complex negotiations for the world, and difficult and complex negotiations for developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
“But I think there is enormous strength to be had by our two countries working seamlessly together in these important negotiations for the future of the planet,” he says.
“We resolved today to work in a new partnership for the future on climate change and you will see that reflected in the combined positions we take across the many meetings which will occur across the international community in the two difficult years which lie ahead,” he adds.
Clark says that New Zealand is “absolutely delighted that Australia has ratified Kyoto”.
“It puts us on the same page in the work we must now do; in the intense international diplomacy around reaching the post 2012 agreement. It makes a huge difference to New Zealand to have Australia in and for us to be able to combine diplomatic effort and muscle in the international negotiations,” says Clark.
“We have before our Parliament at the present time, legislation for an emissions trading scheme. It is a world first in that it covers all economic sectors and all gasses. That’s in contrast with the European Union one which at this time only covers around 30 per cent of greenhouse gasses, so it’s a very advanced scheme,” she says.
Clark also says the fact that Australia and New Zealand are part of the international carbon action partnership, which Australia is now coming into, which will help design the carbon trading markets of the future. “And it is important that both of our countries are in there as we can have an influence in how these markets develop,” Clark adds.
At an official level, Clark says the two countries are liaising very closely around ideas on emissions trading, because Clark says if New Zealand could achieve a level of compatibility between the schemes that are playing both sides of the Tasman, “that would be a positive thing for the Trans-Tasman relationship”.