Joint Statement by Japan and Australia on the Enhancement of Cooperation on Climate Change and Energy Security
September 9, 2007
- Prime Minister of Japan, HE Mr Shinzo Abe, and Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon John Howard MP, reached common recognition today that climate change and energy security are priority issues that require sustained, effective and global action. The two leaders recognised the seriousness of the challenge of climate change. They also acknowledged the importance of ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies for both economies. They expressed their shared recognition of the need for strong and effective action to address these challenges and noted that Japan and Australia are at the forefront of international efforts to find practical and enduring solutions.
- It is natural for Japan and Australia to seek to enhance their partnership on climate change and energy. Japan is one of the world's largest importers of energy, and one of the world's most energy efficient countries. As a major supplier of Japan's energy resources, Australia is important to Japan's energy security. The two leaders noted that natural gas consumption in Japan is growing faster than that of other fossil fuels and Australia is likely to become the top supplier of liquefied natural gas to Japan in the near future. The two leaders confirmed their intention to enhance their bilateral cooperation on climate change and energy.
- Prime Minister Howard supported Prime Minister Abe's 'Cool Earth 50' proposal as a major and positive contribution to the global efforts on a new climate change framework. Prime Minister Howard noted that Australia intends to announce its domestic long term aspirational emissions reduction goal in 2008. Both leaders expressed their belief that the APEC Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development (the Sydney Declaration) represents a major step in building a global consensus on a new international framework. The two leaders underlined their shared determination to work together and with other countries at the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Indonesia in December 2007, particularly in the 'Umbrella Group' coalition, toward a comprehensive post-2012 agreement in which all major emitters participate. Furthermore, they decided to closely cooperate to ensure the participation of all major emitters by encouraging their efforts to mitigate emissions. They shared the view that the new framework must be effective, flexible and diverse, provide for different national circumstances and ensure compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth. They also confirmed their intention to promote cooperation on a new framework in all relevant international fora such as APEC, UNFCCC, International Energy Agency (IEA), Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) and East Asia Summit (EAS). The two leaders also shared the view that further efforts should be made to promote the evolution toward a low carbon society. The two leaders highlighted their respective efforts, including Japan's national campaign for households to reduce greenhouse gases and Australia's efforts across a wide range of areas, including its program to phase out inefficient light bulbs and to support the installation of solar power systems for schools, households and community groups. The two leaders also decided to continue their efforts to assist developing countries to address the impacts of climate change.
- The two leaders welcomed the initiative by the United States to launch a dialogue on future global action on climate change and look forward to participating in the first Meeting of Major Economies on Energy Security and Climate Change in Washington DC on 27-28 September 2007. The two leaders shared the view that this process will be a major contribution to building a global consensus on the way forward.
- The two leaders reached common recognition that the development and deployment of innovative technologies will be a key element in addressing the climate change challenge in the medium to longer-term. Both countries are active participants in the APP and are working together on a number of sector-specific projects that will support the development and deployment of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting energy security and economic growth objectives.
- The two leaders shared the view that constructive collaboration between Japan and Australia under the auspices of the APP will make a significant contribution to cost-effective, cleaner, and more efficient technologies and practices. The Callide A project, the world's first demonstration of oxy-fuel combustion with CO2 storage which will be launched in 2007, will make a significant contribution to the development of technology that can be retrofitted to power stations around the world to capture greenhouse gas emissions. The two leaders acknowledged that Japan and Australia are working to develop carbon sequestration technology that will permanently store carbon dioxide in coal seams while providing an economic return based on enhanced methane recovery. They reaffirmed that evaluation of the CO2 reduction potential of the steel sector will be one approach to facilitate the deployment of best practice technologies. The two leaders also recognised that their work with major developing countries on climate change was also beneficial in promoting improved air quality and addressing regional pollution. They confirmed that this practical work typifies the Partnership and underlines its standing as a key contribution by Japan and Australia to international responses to the addressing these challenges at the international level.
- The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of working together with other international partners to promote advanced low emissions technology through a range of other groupings, including the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the Methane to Markets partnership and the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy.
- The two leaders recognised that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a key component of global action on climate change, and welcomed its likely discussion at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Indonesia in December 2007. Prime Minister Howard welcomed Japan's participation in the recent High-Level Meeting of 63 countries under the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate. The two leaders stressed the importance of efforts to address deforestation and forest degradation including combating illegal logging and welcomed the cooperation between the Australian Greenhouse Office and relevant Japanese agencies to develop integrated forest and carbon monitoring systems towards a Global Carbon Monitoring System (GCMS).
- The two leaders welcomed the adoption by APEC Leaders of an APEC-wide objective for improving energy efficiency and confirmed that this will assist in unlocking potentially major savings and enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way. They acknowledged that Japan and Australia are actively involved in advancing the energy efficiency agenda by encouraging the setting of energy efficiency goals and action plans through the APEC Energy Working Group as well as in the EAS. They also acknowledged that the development of energy efficiency goals and action plans as well as the voluntary Energy Peer Review Mechanism that was agreed by APEC energy ministers in May 2007 will help measure progress.
- The two leaders welcomed the outcome of the 1st EAS Energy Ministers' Meeting in August 2007 which focused on cooperation in the fields of energy market integration in East Asia and bio-fuels, as well as energy efficiency.
- At the bilateral level, the Japan-Australia High Level Group on Energy and Minerals provides a forum for discussions on international and domestic policy issues, trade and investment opportunities and research and development cooperation in the field of energy and minerals. It was initiated in 1985 and enhanced in 2003. The two leaders reiterated the importance of maintaining the strong bilateral energy relationship, with Australia as a stable and credible supplier and Japan a consumer of energy resources, including liquefied natural gas, coal and uranium. They recognised the importance of stable coal supplies to Japan, particularly through maintenance and operation of coal infrastructure.
- The two leaders noted the strong commitment of both Japan and Australia to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and decided to enhance their mutually-beneficial cooperation in this field. Japan possesses advanced technology and experience in this regard. Nuclear power plays a key role in Japan's energy mix and is a key component of its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Prime Minister Howard welcomed the fact that Japan, which is strongly committed to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, is one of the largest consumers of Australian uranium. The two leaders noted that long term responses to climate change could include the use of nuclear energy in a manner that ensures nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security.
- Prime Minister Howard expressed Australia's interest in participating in the Generation IV International Forum which is a partnership of governments working together on fourth generation nuclear power plant technology. The Forum reflects the fact that many countries share an interest in advanced research and development in this field. The Prime Minister of Japan expressed his support for Australian membership of the partnership.
- The two leaders also decided that Japan and Australia will cooperate so that nuclear power generation will be promoted in the region in a manner that ensures nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security. The two leaders noted that increased cooperation on civil nuclear technology in Asia will assist the development of nuclear power for clean energy in the region. Through their joint participation in the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia, Japan and Australia will expand their cooperation on civil nuclear technology in Asia, specifically in the development of a culture of safety in nuclear applications.
The two leaders announced the following specific actions:
- Uranium: Expanded discussions will be incorporated in the next meeting of the Japan-Australia High Level Group on Energy and Minerals to focus on uranium and nuclear issues of mutual interest. Likely issues are uranium trade, transport and investment issues and opportunities for technical, skills and research cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. This expanded dialogue will provide an opportunity for business-level discussions.
- Nuclear cooperation: Noting the significant expansion of our bilateral nuclear cooperation since the conclusion in 1982 of the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the two governments will keep their cooperation under review and discuss possible new areas of activities.
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