Jun 19, 2005

John Howard fiddles while Australia hots up

John Howard fiddles while Australia hots up

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP – 19 June 2005

National leadership is needed to avoid dangerous climate change, but instead Australia has a lethargic, tired approach to global climate change.

Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases is changing Australia’s climate now. We are at one of the most important crossroads in our history.

What Australia does in the next ten years will determine the fate of our economy and environment for the next hundred years.

The extended four year drought gripping Australia is the most dramatic example of climate change to hit our continent. Experts predict Australia is going to get progressively drier over the coming century because of changes to our climate caused by greenhouse pollution. According to the CSIRO, climate change will only worsen drought conditions.

John Howard’s decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is stopping new investment in technology which will reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs and move Australia to a cleaner, more secure energy future.

The Kyoto Protocol is an essential first step and shows what can be done when the international community works together. It is a global solution to a global problem. Our isolation on this issue is a national scandal.

Not ratifying Kyoto means Australia cannot contribute to how the world is dealing with the climate crisis. 140 other nations are having a say, but we are not. We have no credibility in the discussions over emission reductions in future international agreements to take effect after 2012.

In a passionate speech in Britain recently, the international Chairman of Shell, Lord Oxburgh stated:

"We have roughly 45 years. And if we start NOW, not in 10 or 15 years’ time, we have a chance of hitting those greenhouse gas reduction targets. But we’ve got to start now. We have no time to lose. The boat is sinking, and we have to use everything that we possibly can.”

The Government should support Labor’s Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol Ratification) Bill 2005 and join the international community in its global effort.

The Bill will have its Second Reading on Monday, 20 June 2005.