Sunrise - interview with Samantha Armytage

  • Transcript E&OE

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just arrived back from Paris and joins me now in Perth. Good morning. There's been plenty of self-congratulation from world leaders. But what does this deal actually mean for Australia?

JULIE BISHOP The agreement reached in Paris is an important step forward in the global response to climate change. For the first time, all countries – around 200 countries – have signed up to play a constructive role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and responding to climate change. The agreement commences in 2020 so Australia and other countries will then be required to implement the targets that they brought to Paris.

You will recall that last August, the Australian Government agreed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. So that's what we will start implementing, as will other countries. There are five yearly reviews that so we will be able to ensure that all countries are meeting the commitments that they took to Paris, whether they be small island developing states in the Pacific or the large emitters like the United States, China, India and others.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE The Climate Institute says we need to focus on pollution targets and try to commit to zero net emissions before 2050, is that realistic? What on earth do we need to do to make that happen, to get that to zero emissions?

JULIE BISHOP We are talking about the middle of this century and through to the end of this century – so that is obviously a very long-term ambition. What happened in Paris is all countries agreed to play a constructive role. All countries put forward their aspirations, their targets, what they propose to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It takes into account the different circumstances of each country.

So countries are required to act in accordance with their nationally determined plans. So nobody else is telling Australia what do, the United Nations isn't telling us what to do. Domestic policies – we set the policy framework by which we meet the targets that we have announced publicly.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Green groups say this deal marks ends the end of fossil fuels like coal, the Minerals Council says our next power station may need to be nuclear. Is nuclear power the way of the future? How do you expect green groups to react to that?

JULIE BISHOP Well, that's precisely the point. If you want zero emissions power, that's nuclear, and of course, some countries are already deriving most of their energy from nuclear, for example France or New Zealand with hydro...

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE [interrupting] So this is on the table Minister?

JULIE BISHOP The South Australian Labor government has a Royal Commission underway into the nuclear fuel cycle. So we will certainly await the findings of that royal commission but renewables are certainly receiving a focus but this does not spell the end of coal. New generation coal-fired power stations are using high quality coal, using less coal for the same amount of energy being generated.

What it does focus is on the different circumstances of different countries to meet a reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions. Australia set targets back in August and we will meet them. In fact, we are one of the few countries who will meet our 2020 targets and I am confident that we will meet our 2030 target.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Let's hope so. Foreign Minister, thanks for your time this morning.

JULIE BISHOP My pleasure.

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