Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rudd takes centre stage in climate talks

ABC News Online, 10 July 2009

US President Barack Obama has used a press conference with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to announce the creation of a new global partnership to drive the development of clean energy technologies to help fight global warming.

Speaking at the 17-nation Major Economies Forum in Italy, Mr Obama said the partnership aimed to double the amount of investment in research and development needed to make alternative technologies viable.

The focal point of the partnership will be Australia's Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

The President announced the creation of the partnership in a joint press conference with Mr Rudd, who is attending the summit as part of his ongoing overseas trip.

"Australia, for example, is creating a new centre which Kevin will be introducing shortly which points to the ability for us to pool our resources in order to see the technological breakthroughs necessary in order for us to solve this problem," Mr Obama said.

Mr Rudd first announced the formation of the Institute in April but used the meeting in the Italian town of 'L'Aquila to relaunch it.

Mr Rudd says 23 governments and more than 100 companies are now backing the Australian institute.

"It's mission is clear," he said.

"It's to get large-scale carbon capture and storage projects done around the world, not just discussed.

"Unless we do these projects we will not have an effect in bringing down those huge numbers of energy production I referred to before coming from coal, and their greenhouse emission impact."

Speaking to ABC's AM program after the announcement, Mr Rudd said the re-launch of his initiative was necessary in order to take a global approach to carbon capture.

"It was important to launch this institute globally because it has to be global in its scope," he said.

"If we're going to make a difference with coal-fired electricity generation and the greenhouse gases emitted from that generation process, carbon capture and storage must occupy centre place."

The Major Economies Forum is being held on the sidelines of the G8 meeting in L'Aquila.

Meanwhile United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says the G8's new commitments on cutting carbon emissions do not go far enough.

The world's leading industrialised nations have agreed to an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, but Mr Ban says cuts are also needed in the short-term.

He said the countries represented at the G8 account for 80 per cent of emissions.

He warned if they fail to act this year they will have squandered an historic opportunity that may not come again.

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