30 October 2012


Speaking on a recent visit to Australia, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres,stressed how Australia was “blessed” with renewable energy resources the envy of much of the world.

This assessment is backed up by the most recent Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)  report which shows Australia has the potential to produce around 500 times its current energy consumption from renewable energy sources if all possible sources available across eastern and south eastern Australia were tapped into. AEMO is the joint government and industry body which contributes to the development of Australia's energy policy.

Meanwhile progress continues to be made towards harnessing the potential of solar energy  (In a six hour period deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes in a year) with last month the first steps being undertaken to develop a high-voltage direct-current super grid to supply the whole of Asia with renewable energy, plans announced for construction of a joint Algerian-German pilot solar thermal plant and the opening of another solar thermal power plant in Calasparra, Spain.

Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, either impacts on, or is impacted by, global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management.

In 1992, countries joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

By 1995,it was realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were inadequate, which led to a strengthening of the global response to climate change through the Kyoto Protocol which legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.

In 2010, governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius.

In Durban in 2011, governments of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol decided that a second commitment period, from 2013 onwards, would seamlessly follow the end of the first commitment period.

There are now 195 Parties to the Convention.

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