Mar 16, 2005

Campbell takes his charade onto the international stage


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 March 2005

Not satisfied with deceiving the Australian public, the Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has now been caught out misleading an international conference of government ministers and officials about the Howard Government’s performance at tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions – the main cause of climate change.

Overnight, Minister Campbell told the Energy and Environment Conference in London:

“Measures adopted by the Australian Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are working. Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target of 108 percent of 1990 emissions by 2012…”

This is a totally misleading and dishonest statement.

According to the Government’s own Greenhouse Office the only reason Australia has any hope of meeting its Kyoto target is because Labor governments in both Queensland and New South Wales have legislated to outlaw broad-scale tree clearing – an initiative the Howard Government refused to help fund and which its Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, said last month was unnecessary.

Worst still, the one-off benefit delivered by this state-based initiative conceals significant growth in greenhouse gas emissions in every other part of the economy. For example, emissions from the energy sector (i.e. power plants) are projected to rise by 46% over 1990 levels by 2012 and in the transport sector by 42% over 1990 levels.

Alarmingly, the Greenhouse Office predicts that post-2012 Australia’s emissions will rise even more rapidly to be 123% of 1990 levels by 2020.

During his speech the Minister also asserted: “Developing low emission technology is the most pressing challenge to reducing the levels of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.”

Such a statement simply shows the Minister has no idea of the progress that has already been made around the world. In fact, earlier this year a conference organised by the British Government and attended by leading scientists from 30 nations concluded:

“Technological options for reducing emissions over the long term already exist and significant reduction can be attained, using a portfolio of options and the costs are likely to be smaller than previously considered.”

Minister Campbell should listen to his ideological soul mate, the British Conservative Party’s environment spokesmen Tim Yeo, who told his party’s recent conference:

“As the science becomes clearer and stronger; it is time to move the debate on. Politicians can no longer take refuge in warm words. We need a more urgent response on behalf of future generations.”

It is regrettable Minister Campbell is not as enthusiastic about ratifying international treaties as he is about attending international conferences on this issue.