Dec 6, 2004

Time for action on Kyoto


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 6 December 2004

Today in the Parliament Labor moved a Matter of Public Importance again urging the Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Labor’s renewed effort coincides with the United Nations’ 10th Conference of the Parties on climate change beginning today in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

By refusal to ratify the Protocol, Australia will be excluded from the international trade in clean technologies and emission credits – the very industries that will play an ever increasingly central role in the global economy of the 21st Century.

For example, emission trading within the European Union alone is expected to grow to a $600 billion industry. Unless we sign up to the Kyoto Protocol these economic opportunities will simply bypass Australia.

The Government’s refusal to sign the Protocol is even more perplexing given that a report released yesterday by its own Greenhouse Office predicts that “Australia is on track to achieve its target of limited greenhouse emissions to 108% of 1990 …, as agreed to at Kyoto” (pg. 1).

In other words, the Government has finally admitted that ratifying Kyoto will not place any additional financial burdens on private industry or impede the capacity of the Australian economy to create jobs.

The Kyoto Protocol is about addressing climate change through a carrot and stick approach. The Howard Government seems prepared to cop the stick but forego the carrot.

Unlike the Government, Labor believes Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, participate fully in international efforts to deal with climate change and as a result secure the financial benefits available to countries which ratify the Protocol.