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Premier backs signs climate change mou with Governor Schwarzenegger

Date
04 May 2007

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks today met with Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Los Angeles to discuss ways both States can work together to tackle climate change in their countries.

Following the meeting Mr Bracks and Governor Schwarzenegger signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will create practical links between the States in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.

"Governor Schwarzenegger has been a leader in the United States in addressing global warming, taking such initiatives as the global warming law which imposes the country's first mandatory statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Bracks said.

"California is one of the world's major economic powerhouses and, like Victoria, understands that it's not a matter of choosing between climate change and economic development."

"That's why both States have put in place policies to drive the economic investment needed, now and over coming decades, to ensure that we are "ahead of the curve" - including setting deep cut emissions targets by 2050 of 60 per cent in Victoria and 80 per cent in California."

"This MOU will enable Victoria and California to share expertise in climate change action and hopefully pave the way for a wider regional agreement between the Australian states and territories and our US counterparts."

The MOU will allow Victoria and California to work together in addressing climate change in the following areas:

  • Developing emissions trading schemes and carbon offsets
  • Encouraging the development of clean energy technology
  • Helping communities adapt to climate change
  • Developing energy efficient and green building standards
  • Reducing greenhouse emissions in the transport sector
  • Conducting economic assessments of climate change and policies associated with it.

"Governor Schwarzenegger has been a driving force behind the 5-state effort, known as the Western Climate Initiative", Mr Bracks said, "and this MOU reinforces the leadership role that state governments are now playing in driving global climate change solutions."

Earlier this year the Premiers and Chief Ministers, through the Council for the Australian Federation, agreed to a Declaration on Climate Change which provides a comprehensive approach to climate change including a national emissions trading scheme by 2010.

All state parliaments will aim to pass emissions trading legislation by December 2008 and put in place an emissions reporting scheme commencing in July 2008 if the Commonwealth has failed to do so by that time.

"There are few issues more important to Australia's economic and environmental future than climate change and we cannot fully tackle climate change without a national emissions trading scheme," Mr Bracks said.

"We would urge the Federal Government to join with the States and Territorys in supporting a national emissions trading scheme."

Mr Bracks said the Victorian Government was already doing its bit to address climate change through ways such as:

  • 5-star energy and water efficient standards in all new Victorian homes
  • 20,000 existing homes and offices in Victoria have switched to solar power
  • Mandating that energy retailers are required to purchase a minimum of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2016
  • Committing $106 million for the development and demonstration of leading edge cleaner brown coal technologies
  • Cutting the state Government's power bill by 15 per cent through energy efficient projects
  • Victoria's largest 500 emitters are saving more than 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and have reduced energy bills by $34 million a year.

California has also signed an agreement with Britain to work together to address climate change and promote energy diversity.

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