Jan 11, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Jenny Macklin MP


11 January 2006

Jenny Macklin MP

Shadow Minister for Education, Training, Science & Research

Federal Member for Jagajaga

Macklin: The Howard Government must make sure that at this Asia Pacific Climate Change conference we get real reductions in greenhouse gas. We need to make sure that real targets are set, that a timeline is set so that the world sees a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Journalist: I notice that you are calling on Australia to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Why do you think that it’s important?

Macklin: It’s extremely important that Australia sign the Kyoto Protocol, that this conference that is happening at the moment in Sydney is not seen as an alternative to Kyoto. It should be seen as a complement to the signing of the Kyoto protocol. The importance of the Kyoto Protocol is that it commits so many countries around the world to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and Australia should be part of that.

Journalist: Why are Australia and the US so opposed to it? Why haven’t we joined the other 157 countries in signing?

Macklin: We just haven’t been prepared to sign up and make clear that we are prepared to meet these targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Australia should be part of this international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We should sign the Kyoto protocol. This current conference is useful but it should not be seen as an alternative to signing the Kyoto protocol.

Journalist: Can the current conference achieve anything without compulsory measures being put in place?

Macklin: It’s useful for people to get together and look at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is important, what must come out of this conference, is a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Targets must be set and we must have a timetable by which those targets would be met.

Journalist: How do you enforce that?

Macklin: Well that’s why we should have this conference come with that agreement. We know that is the whole point of the Kyoto Protocol. That’s why we say Australia should sign then Kyoto Protocol, that we should commit ourselves to the emission reductions that would be part of signing that Protocol. We know that by signing the Kyoto Protocol we also get economic benefits. That’s another reason for signing the Kyoto Protocol, being part of the system that the vast majority of countries in the world have agreed to. So let’s make sure out of this conference we get real commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, real targets set and a timeline to meet those targets.

Journalist: But what is the stumbling block? Why haven’t we signed it up til now?

Macklin: Well you’d really have to ask the Howard Government that. From Labor’s point of view we think it’s good for Australia to sign the Kyoto Protocol to get the economic benefit of signing the Protocol. We think that it’s high time that Australia joined with the other 157 countries that have signed the Protocol to make sure that there’s a world-wide effort to bring down greenhouse emissions.

Journalist: It’s been quite a while that Australia and the US haven’t been part of the Kyoto protocol. Is it becoming more and more urgent as the years go on?

Macklin: It is becoming more urgent as of course greenhouse gas emissions keep going up. What we know is that we need increased efforts from all of the countries of the world to make sure we get these greenhouse gas emissions down and that’s going to take concerted effort from all the countries of the world including Australia.

Journalist: Given that Kyoto exists is this climate conference necessary or is it a waste of time?

Macklin: This is a useful conference. There’s no question that bringing these countries together will provide an additional effort to bring down greenhouse gas emissions but we need a commitment to come out of the conference to set targets to bring emissions down and to have a time table by which we meet those reductions. Four of the countries who are coming to this conference are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, we say Australia should also be a signatory.