Feb 15, 2005

Campbell is part of the problem, not the solution


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 15 February 2005

The Minister for the Environment, Senator Campbell, has gone to desperate lengths to defend his Government’s disgraceful and embarrassing decision to walk away from the Kyoto Protocol.

Example 1:

Campbell asserts that Labor’s position, namely that Australia should ratify the Protocol, is “flawed” and “disastrous”.

That’s an interesting assertion to make considering the Prime Minister claimed with much enthusiasm in 1997:

“We end the year having achieved this … absolutely stunning diplomatic success at the Kyoto conference. That was an extraordinary achievement, that Kyoto summit—an absolutely extraordinary achievement—and it was against all the odds.

… I mean, what we were able to do at Kyoto was, both, make a massive contribution to the world environmental effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions but also to protect Australian jobs. …we achieved a win for the environment and a win for Australian jobs.” (Source: Prime Minister John Howard, AM Radio Program, 19 December 1997)

Furthermore, if the Protocol is so “flawed” and “disastrous”, why have more than 140 countries ratified it and what is the Government’s alternative model for the international community?

Example 2:

Campbell asserts that Labor’s commitment to a national carbon trading scheme “…could result in the cost of electricity soaring…”

This is an extraordinary assertion considering his Government, through the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), has been working on the mechanics for such a scheme. In 1999 the AGO released 4 discussion papers: Establishing the boundaries; Issuing the permits; Crediting the carbon; and Designing the market.

What’s more, both Treasurer Peter Costello and the former Environment Minister, David Kemp, supported a national carbon trading scheme in 2003:

"Federal cabinet rejected such a scheme last year, even though Environment Minister David Kemp and Treasurer Peter Costello promoted it, after industry lobbied John Howard." (Source: The Australian, 21/08/04)

Instead of spending his time concocting reasons why Australia can’t improve its appalling record at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Senator Campbell should be showing leadership on what is the most serious environment challenge confronting the global community.

It’s time Senator Campbell is held accountable for his inconsistent and duplicitous statements. Australians deserve more than the Government’s confused and contradictory response to climate change.