Jul 31, 2005

Government Split Over Climate Change

Government Split Over Climate Change

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP

31 July 2005

The Howard Government remains divided and confused over its response to climate change.

Today on ABC Insiders, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, acknowledged the Asia –Pacific Partnership would not replace the Kyoto Protocol, but would complement it. This recognises that Kyoto is the main game. As Climate Change is a global issue it requires a global response, as the recent G8 meeting in Gleneagles agreed.

Mr Downer also stressed the need to “get more investment into cleaner energy through changing price signals”.

This has long been Labor’s position, which is why we support the Kyoto Protocol and emissions trading.

Mr Downer should have a word to Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, who strongly opposes emissions trading.

On 15 April 2005, Senator Campbell said: “The Australian Government believes the introduction of [emissions trading] is unnecessary given Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target and is premature in the absence of effective longer-term global action on climate change. To advocate otherwise…is to advocate higher costs for Australian homeowners and businesses and is an attack on the economic growth of this nation.”

Unlike the Environment Minister, the ALP understands emissions trading is the most efficient and market-friendly way to get the price signals right, provide industry certainty and cut greenhouse pollution.

The Australian Government is being left behind as the European Union implements its emissions trading scheme worth 9 billion Euros this year and Australia’s clean energy industry goes offshore taking jobs and export dollars with it.

In Australia there is still no national climate change strategy and the Howard Government is on track to increase its greenhouse pollution by 23% by 2020.

This is climate change complacency at its starkest.

Instead of confusion and complacency, Australia needs action and it needs it now. The Howard Government should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, establish a national emissions trading scheme and set a strong renewable energy target.

The Howard Government is mismanaging Australia’s response to climate change and has left us unprepared for our great environmental challenges.