Jul 27, 2005

Secret Climate Pact More Spin Than Substance

Secret Climate Pact More Spin Than Substance


27 July 2005

Reports today the Howard Government has entered a secret regional climate change pact is little more than Government spin.

International and bilateral meetings are happening every day in the lead up to the 1st meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in December this year.

The reality is the Kyoto Protocol has come into force, and Australia won’t have a seat at the table.

The reality is the recent G8 meeting in Gleneagles unanimously agreed the “UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate forum for negotiating future action on climate change” and explicitly acknowledged “those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol welcome its entry into force and will work to make it a success”.

The reality is 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 the United States, the Climate Change Bill sponsored by Republican John McCain and Democrat Joe Lieberman is gaining momentum, the 10 North East States and California under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are all moving towards emissions trading, greenhouse targets and renewable energy targets and more than 50 local Government areas including New York and Los Angeles are taking action to meet Kyoto targets for greenhouse reductions.

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.

Nine long years of the Howard Government has left Australia unprepared for the impact of climate change. A Government report released yesterday outlined the devastating effects of climate change: more storms, more floods, more cyclones, vulnerable reef systems, but greenhouse pollution continues to spiral out of control.

Instead of incompetence 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.