Dec 14, 2004

Is Australia going to be part of the coalition of the unwilling?


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 14 December 2004

In an alarming development for international efforts to tackle climate change, the United States has confirmed it “has no intention of becoming involved in negotiations on Kyoto Protocol arrangements or any new climate treaty, now or in the future.”

This blunt admission was made by the Bush Administration’s Chief Climate Change Negotiator, Dr Harlan Watson, in a briefing to industry representatives attending the United Nations’ 10th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, currently underway in Buenos Aires.

Given that Australia is the only other developed country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, it is now time for the Howard Government to come clean: are they too going to forever snub global efforts to tackle climate change?

Just last week the Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, admitted that if we are to prevent the worst effects of climate change, a 60% cut in world emissions of Greenhouse Gases was required.

How can anyone take Minister Campbell seriously when his Government is stubbornly refusing to sign onto a treaty requiring a global cut of just 5%?

The Howard Government and the Bush Administration are playing Russian roulette with the long term health of our planet and shirking their responsibilities to future generations.

When it comes to the environment, there is no second chance.

According the CSIRO some parts of New South Wales could become uninhabitable within the next 70 years if countries continue to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate. In a worst-case scenario, droughts could increase by 70% and the number of days above 35-degrees could double by 2030.

The Buenos Aires Conference is the last one before the Kyoto Protocol comes into force on 16 February 2005. One hundred and twenty-one countries (121) countries have ratified Kyoto.