Feb 14, 2005

Labor to introduce “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Bill” today


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 14 February 2005

Labor’s Valentine’s Day gift to the Australian people is to move today the “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change (Kyoto Ratification) Bill” as a Private Members Bill.

This comes just two days before the Kyoto Protocol comes into effect and would require the Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol within 60 days.

In 1997 the Prime Minister proclaimed that the Protocol was: “a win for the environment and a win for Australian jobs”. Now he thinks Australia can act alone to address the most serious challenge facing the global community.

Of industrialised nations only Australia and the United States are isolated from the 140 countries that are engaged in the international effort to combat climate change.

Australians can see the impact of climate change: our major cities and towns have prolonged water shortages; 75% of the red gums on the Murray River flood plains are dying; and bleaching has damaged significant parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

The five hottest years on record have occurred in the last seven years; the 10 hottest in the last 14. Glaciers that have not retreated since the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago are now doing so and Greenland’s icesheet is melting far quicker than earlier models had predicted.

Kyoto is essentially a carrot and stick approach. The stick is reaching the target of Greenhouse Gas emissions; the carrot is gaining access to the economic benefits of the global trading market.

Given that Australia is on track to meet our target, there is no downside in Australia ratifying Kyoto which harnesses the power of the market.

Australia is giving the world a jump start in entry to a dynamic driving force of 21st century economies.

Australian companies and our economy will be disadvantaged if we exclude ourselves from carbon markets and the developing renewable energy technology markets. The investment will go elsewhere.

Our isolation on this issue will become even more apparent after this Wednesday.