National Statement – Signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement
Saturday, 23 April 2016
Secretary-General, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
Climate change is real, significant and important. It is one of the great modern challenges for
The Paris Agreement is therefore a profoundly important milestone. It is a turning point in the
transition to a lower emissions economy.
It builds on the landmark Dubai Pathway under the Montreal Protocol which will see a
reduction of 90 billion tonnes of cumulative emissions by 2050.
Today, Australia joins the rest of the world in signing the Paris Agreement. We will begin our
process to ratify the Agreement immediately, and will seek to ratify this year.
All nations must commit to real action that meets their targets.
I can therefore announce that Australia will meet and beat our 2020 targets. On the basis of
new projections released today, we will beat our Kyoto target by 78 million tonnes.
We are therefore on track to meet our 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per
cent below 2005 levels.
Already our domestic climate change policies are delivering real outcomes.
The $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund reverse auctions have already contracted 92.8
million tonnes of abatement, with a new auction next week.
There are three pillars to our current action: the Fund, the Safeguard Mechanism which
places a cap on around 50% Australia’s emissions and a Renewable Energy Target, which
will deliver 23.5 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
In addition, we are developing three new pillars: reducing vehicle emissions, our National
Energy Productivity Plan, and the phase down of hydro-fluorocarbons by 85 per cent.
As a Mission Innovation partner, we are driving new solar and clean energy technology and
will double investment under the partnership by 2020. I say to the world, that Australia, is
open for renewable energy business and investment.
Indeed, our new $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund will support emerging and
As we reduce our emissions we must also look to the protection of our land and our oceans.
Australia has been at the forefront of establishing the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Partnership to
keep carbon locked in our majestic rainforests.
Today I invite the world to join us in developing a Global Rainforest Recovery Partnership
aligned to REDD+ to protect our great forests and an International Partnership on Blue
Carbon to protect our oceans.
At home we are taking strong action to protect and build the resilience of our iconic Great
Barrier Reef – the world’s Great Barrier Reef – currently experiencing a severe bleaching
event, through our comprehensive Reef 2050 Plan.
The Australian and Queensland Governments are investing $2 billion in the resilience of the
Reef over the next 10 years.
I am announcing today a further $11 million of projects to continue water quality
improvement on the Reef. This is on top of $35 million of projects that are being delivered as
part of our $140 million Reef Trust, with further projects due shortly.
Beyond our borders we are working, largely in our own Pacific region, to invest, at least $1
billion in climate finance over the next five years.
Ultimately, intergenerational equity is about the love and the respect that one generation
shows another. There will be no greater gift than real action now to protect the Reef, the
Okavango Delta, the Everglades and the planet’s natural treasures.
Today, therefore, we pledge our commitment to the task, the action and the historic Paris