Feb 13, 2005

This Valentine’s Day, Love the Planet

THIS VALENTINE’S DAY, LOVE THE PLANET

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Kim Beazley MP, Leader of the Opposition

13 February 2005

Today the Labor Party launched a campaign to convince the Howard Government that Australia must join the international effort to combat climate change by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

To coincide with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, Labor will be distributing Love the Planet: Avoid Dangerous Climate Change postcards throughout the community, asking people with concerns about the future health of our planet to sign and return them to the Prime Minister.

As important as human relationships are, so too is our collective relationship with our natural environment. Without similar care and attention, our environment will inevitably deteriorate.

At a recent conference in the UK, 200 of the world’s leading climate scientists warned dangerous climate change is taking place, the pollution which causes global warming has reached dangerous levels and “the risks are more serious than previously thought.”

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.

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 Kyoto Protocol comes into force on Wednesday, 16 February. It’s not too late for Australia to be part of this unprecedented global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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. Australia is one of only two industrialised countries who have not ratified Kyoto.

Tomorrow, Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage, will be moving a Private Members’ Bill requiring Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. If the Prime Minister is serious about tackling climate change he should support the Bill.

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.

Human-induced climate change is bigger than any one politician or political party – it goes to the heart of what kind of world we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren.