Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rudd joins Clinton in push for climate control

AUSTRALIA is tapping into Bill Clinton's Climate Initiative as part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's international push on climate change.

A week after Mr Rudd announced his proposed Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute to make Australia the "to go" place on carbon technologies, he has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Australia and the foundation will collaborate on deploying carbon capture and storage technology to large-scale projects, encouraging big solar power generation in Australia, and designing policies to improve energy efficiency.

Today Mr Rudd will turn his attention to the disarmament issue, launching, with new Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, the membership of Australia's International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Japan will co-chair the commission.

Former US Defence Secretary William Perry confirmed yesterday that he would be a member of the commission, declaring it timely and a worthy exercise.

The Australian co-chair is former foreign minister Gareth Evans. The Japanese co-chair is former foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

The commission will be charged with recommending ways to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

In another busy round of engagements, Mr Rudd met former US secretary of state and American elder statesman Henry Kissinger.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said they discussed the Asia-Pacific region and the role it would play in the future economic and strategic global environment, including the rise of China and India.

They canvassed in detail Mr Rudd's proposal for an Asia-Pacific Community, as well as the International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. They agreed that progress on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was "well overdue".

Mr Rudd will canvass disarmament as well as the international financial crisis and climate change when he addresses the UN General Assembly today in what is the formal highlight of his trip.

In more talks on the financial crisis, he will meet the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy Geithner, as the ramifications of the meltdown continue to intensify.

Mr Rudd told a climate round table yesterday that Norway had indicated it was interested in participating in the Australian Carbon Institute. Britain has already given support to the project, which foreign governments have been invited to join.

The Prime Minister said he agreed with former British prime minister Tony Blair that climate change was the single most challenging item on the international policy agenda.

But he said what was actually happening around the world on carbon capture and storage was "deeply, deeply disappointing", according to an Australian Government analysis.

We had to face the "real-time problem" of transferring good intentions on the carbon capture and storage issue into reality.

Australia's proposed institute would both promote research and facilitate projects.

Mr Rudd today also attends discussions on the UN Millennium Development Goals and has more bilateral meetings.

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