Dec 20, 2004

Cambell contradicts himself over Global Warming treaty


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 20 December 2004

The Howard Government’s posturing over international efforts to tackle global warming, as reported today in the media, has become more absurd and contradictory.

The Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, asserts that his Government is prepared to sign a new global warming treaty following the completion of the current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, in 2012.

However, on the other hand, he adds: “But a new agreement will have to include the US and developing countries.”

The absurdity of the Minister’s new position is he knows the US Government has categorically ruled out ever being part of a international global warming treaty. The Bush Administration’s Chief Climate Change Negotiator, Dr Harlan Watson, told industry representatives attending the recent United Nations’ 10th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change that:

“…[the US] has no intention of becoming involved in negotiations on Kyoto Protocol arrangements or any new climate treaty, now or in the future.”

Debate around the need for an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of global warming, has been going on for more than a decade. It is now time for the Howard Government to be honest with the Australian public, and in particularly our children.

Is Australia going to play a leading role in international efforts to combat the serious threats posed by global warming or are we forever going to have our position shaped by the views coming out of Washington?

The Howard Government can no longer be allowed to play their dangerous political game of walking both sides of a barbed-wired fence.

When it comes to our natural environment, there is no second chance.

Labor position is clear: Australia should immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol and use our special relationship to convince the US of their responsibilities to future generations.