Jul 28, 2005

Climate Pact Spin and Hypocrisy

Climate Pact Spin and Hypocrisy

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP

28 July 2005

If the Howard Government was as good at solutions as it is at spin, we would be world leaders in tackling climate change. Selective leaks to The Australian earlier this week talked up the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate as a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol.

However the vision statement of today’s agreement concludes, “the partnership will be consistent with and contribute to our efforts under the UNFCCC and will complement, but not replace, the Kyoto Protocol”.

This is consistent with the communiqué from the recent G8 meeting in Gleneagles unanimously agreed the “UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate forum for negotiating future action on climate change” and explicitly acknowledged “those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol welcome its entry into force and will work to make it a success”.

The Kyoto Protocol is the main game, and Australia’s stubbornness means we won’t have a seat at the table. If the Government was serious about investing in new technology, it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol which provides economic incentives to cut greenhouse pollution and encourages the development of clean technologies.

The details of this Partnership is also another reminder of the hypocrisy of the Howard Government. Today, Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane was saying “we’re going to see the new technologies that we know are already being developed make the real impact on greenhouse gas emissions that we need.”

On the very day Kyoto came into effect, 16 February 2005, Ian Macfarlane was disputing the reality of climate change:

“Whether or not those (carbon dioxide) emissions are causing climate change, I don’t know. If you go back across history, millions of years, carbon dioxide levels go up and down, and global warming comes and goes. I mean, the Earth is a lot warmer than it was when the glaciers formed”.

Nine long years of the Howard Government has left Australia unprepared for the impact of climate change. A Government report released yesterday outlined the devastating effects of climate change: more storms, more floods, more cyclones, vulnerable reef systems, but Australia will increase its greenhouse pollution by 23% by 2020.