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Australia not 'out on its own' on climate change legislation

08 December, 2009

New climate change legislation will not leave Australia 'out on its own', a review of similar regulation around Asia has revealed.

The review of 13 Asian nations' regulatory regimes by Allens Arthur Robinson's climate change team also shows countries such as China are doing more to reduce emissions in some areas than the United States.

"Any suggestion that Australia is somehow racing ahead with climate change legislation while other nations in the region dither or ignore the issue borders on arrogant," said Allens Arthur Robinson Partner Grant Anderson.

"A key message that emerges from this survey is that, understandably, countries adopt climate change initiatives that are compatible with their economic development goals and their individual circumstances," said Anderson.

For example, Vietnam with its hydro capacity and the Philippines with its substantial geothermal resources are concentrating on renewable energy, while substantial energy consumers, such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea, have introduced a raft of measures to encourage and mandate energy efficiency.

The survey suggests that the current emphasis on national emissions targets is too simplistic.

"While on the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference many will demand a one-size-fits-all global response, a more realistic alternative (as suggested by Australia's Prime Minister among others) is to detail the specific measures that countries agree to undertake to reduce or control their greenhouse gas emissions.

"This would enable countries to adopt measures that are more suited to their individual circumstances – measures that play to their strengths and that are consistent with other priorities such as economic growth and energy security," said Anderson.

Allens' climate change regulatory review, One Hat Does Not Fit All, was researched and compiled over the past six months.

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