Nov 20, 2006

Climate change: Compelling evidence but an erratic Government response

Climate change: Compelling evidence but an erratic Government response


20 November 2006

The evidence of climate change is clear and compelling, but the Howard Government’s response has been erratic and inconsistent.

There is deep policy confusion in the Howard Government over climate change.

The Howard Government has been:

  • for and against the link between greenhouse gases and climate change;
  • for and against the Kyoto Protocol;
  • for and against further greenhouse gas targets beyond 2012; and
  • for and against emission trading.

John Howard’s statements that Australia would not ratify Kyoto have been undermined by his Environment Minister who said on the Sunday program “it’s academic” whether we ratify Kyoto or not.

If it’s academic whether we sign Kyoto or not, then surely there’s nothing to be lost by ratifying it.

If Australia is meeting its Kyoto targets, it is logical to ratify Kyoto and get the benefits of doing so.

Recently, John Howard talked about a New Kyoto agreement, saying the world needed a new climate change agreement after 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol was founded in 1997 and its first commitment period runs from 2008-2012. Kyoto will be the basis for future improved climate change agreements.

There will be no New Kyoto in 2013 – in fact it will be an evolving, improving 16 year old agreement.

John Howard is out of touch, out of step and out of time on climate change.

Australia’s isolation is damaging our international reputation and the Howard Government is scrambling for relevance on climate change.

Political commitment, not political spin, is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.