Oct 7, 2005

Adelaide Climate Pact meeting postponed?

Adelaide Climate Pact meeting postponed?


7 October 2005

The BBC is reporting that the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Climate Pact, scheduled to take place in November in Australia, has been postponed.

On 11 August 2005 the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, announced “that Australia will host the inaugural Ministerial meeting of the Partnership in November”.

On 10 September, the Minister went further, stating the Adelaide meeting will be “the most heavyweight delegation and event that I have been able to attract”.

The Howard Government clearly planned the Adelaide Climate Pact meeting to pre-empt the November 2005 UN meeting in Montreal on climate change.

The postponement of the Adelaide Climate Pact meeting would be humiliating for the Howard Government because it attempted to spin the Pact and the Adelaide meeting as a major international breakthrough for addressing climate change.

Given 4 of the 6 countries involved in the Pact have ratified Kyoto, it is not surprising there have been objections to the Government’s spin that the Pact was an alternative to Kyoto. Indeed the vision statement of the Pact states that it would “complement” Kyoto.

It’s time the Howard Government got serious about avoiding dangerous climate change.

155 countries around the world have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Australia and the United States are the only industrialised nations not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol is the main game. The Howard Government’s decision not to ratify Kyoto means we won’t have a seat in Montreal in November 2005 where the shape of the future international agreement on climate change will be discussed.

The development of the Climate Pact is positive in that it is consistent with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other agreements, but it is limited.

All sides of politics agree with exchange of research and collaboration over new technology. Australia must not only use new technologies, we must play a role in developing them. The Climate Pact is limited by having no targets, no funding, no objectives and no market mechanism to drive change, such as emissions trading.

On 31 July 2005 on the ABC Insiders program, the Foreign Minister conceded the need to “get more investment into cleaner energy through changing price signals”. This has long been Labor’s position, which is why we support Kyoto and emissions trading.