Topics: Paris climate summit
Greg Hunt, thank you for joining us there so bright and early in Paris.
It's a pleasure. There are long days and short nights but that comes with the conference – an absolutely fascinating environment.
Take us inside the talks – what have been the most interesting debates so far and what's been your involvement?
The primary goal is to keep temperature change below two degrees celsius – that is pretty much universally accepted.
There are some large developing countries who are cautious about the language but I think they will adopt and accept that.
Then you have the pledges that individual countries make here reach about a 2.7 degree limit on temperature rise so we have to have a process going forward.
So Paris will be a meeting but more importantly it will be a whole process going forward so as nations will come back – probably every five years – to reconsider their commitments and that is the subject of debate.
You have some who would rather keep this to a once only pledge, others who accept that this should be a five year process.
And Australia is – and myself are – trying to broker that five years process as a genuine process with a genuine 2020 review.
I believe some developing nations, particularly those vulnerable to rising sea levels, have been pushing their case to limit a climate increase to 1.5 degrees rather than two degrees.
Are we backing the 1.5 or the two degree agreement?
What we have said publicly and privately is two degrees is the mandated goal. But we should be aware and acknowledge 1.5.
Other larger countries and some of the major, most populous developing countries are much more cautious.
So we are more of a bridge between small island states and those that simply want to have a reference to two degrees.
Well, yeah, and we have to help them a lot if temperatures do rise by more than 1.5 degrees or more than two degrees as well.
Now, you say we're playing a bridge Greg Hunt, why aren't we backing them for the 1.5 degree rise?
It's absolutely clear that the United States and China and India and Saudi Arabia amongst others will agree on two degrees.
But to have a formal position about 1.5 – they simply wouldn't go there.
We're working constructively to make sure that we as ambitious as possible but above all else, it's important that we come away from Paris with a success.
One of the things which has been a extraordinarily positive point for Australia here is that we are now on track to clearly and efficiently meet and beat our 2020 targets and as a consequence, we have announced that we will ratify the Kyoto Protocol…
Yeah, some critics have pointed out though that our industrial emissions have still been increasing and those reductions you're talking about are coming from deforestation projects and the like.
Do we need to work a lot harder on our industrial sector?
I think we need to work on all sectors and that's why we've now launched a vehicle emissions review.
Tomorrow Josh Frydenberg will be meeting with the states to nut out the details of an energy efficiency plan for Australia which will go straight to the industrial and domestic emissions to which you refer.
One last question, the images that came out of the Copenhagen discussions five years ago were of Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama and other world leaders practically tearing their hair out by the end of the conference as they tried to reach an agreement. Is it going to get like that this time?
There will probably be some very hard moments in week two and people might walk out on the Wednesday of week two and come back on the Friday.
That seems to be the DNA of these conferences but at the end of the day, I'm realistic but I am fundamentally optimistic.
It won't be perfect but it will be a breakthrough signature moment for the planet.
You are an optimistic guy, Greg Hunt, no matter what they say about you, that is for sure. Thank you so much for joining us there in Paris.
Thanks very much Tom.