Jan 6, 2006

Fingers Crossed, Let’s Hope it Never Happens: Campbell’s Climate Change Poli

Fingers Crossed, Let’s Hope it Never Happens: Campbell’s Climate Change Policy


6 January 2006

The Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, has revealed his Government’s approach to climate change – “let’s hope it never happens”.

Labor has proposed a comprehensive plan to work with our drowning Pacific neighbours to combat climate change, including establishing an international coalition to accept climate change refugees.

Ian Campbell responded by crossing his fingers, and hoping for the best: “Saying that we’re going to evacuate them is very premature. Let’s hope it never happens.”

Climate change is real, and it’s hurting our Pacific neighbours now. PNG citizens on the Carteret Islands have become the world’s first climate change refugees. Tuvalu is expected to be uninhabitable because of rising seas levels over the coming decade.

Tuvalu has twice called for help from the Howard Government, and it’s twice been rejected. Now we know why. The Government has taken the gamble that things won’t get too bad for our Pacific neighbours.

The Howard Government will go into next week’s Asia Pacific Climate Pact meeting without any credibility on climate change. It’s said no to the Kyoto Protocol, it’s said no to greenhouse emissions trading, it’s said no to increasing the mandatory renewable energy target, it’s said no to helping our drowning Pacific neighbours.

Meetings such as the Asia Pacific Climate Pact are positive, but limited. The Howard Government has crossed its fingers that the Pact will transfer clean technology without any targets, timetables, strategies or price signals.

This stand is in contrast to Pact members Japan, China, South Korea and India who have all ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In the developed world only Australia and the US remain on the outside looking in.

In truth the Howard Government has just crossed its fingers, and hoped that climate change will go away.

The Howard Government is frozen in time while the world warms around it. It has left Australia unprepared for the dramatic challenges that climate change will bring.