Jun 18, 2005

Why does John Howard really oppose the Kyoto Protocol?

Why does John Howard really oppose the Kyoto Protocol?

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP – 18 June 2005

Disturbing evidence is emerging about how the US administration twisted and edited scientific reports linking greenhouse gas emissions to climate change.

Philip Cooney, who was Chief of Staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, doctored official US policy papers on global warming over 2002 and 2003 to play down the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Mr Cooney resigned on Friday 10 June and is now working for ExxonMobil.

Mr Cooney is a lawyer with no science background. He previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute where he helped organise the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gas emissions from factories and automobiles.

Creating uncertainty about the link between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions stops meaningful action to limit those emissions.

After strongly supporting the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Howard Government fell into line with the US’s opposition to Kyoto after George Bush became President.

In December 1997, John Howard proclaimed the Kyoto Protocol was a “stunning diplomatic success” and “a win for the environment and a win for Australian jobs”.

In June 2002 John Howard back-flipped on his support for Kyoto. Since then, senior Ministers such as Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have publicly stated they don’t believe climate change is occurring.

Labor has no doubts: climate change is the most serious environmental challenge confronting the global community.

In 1997 John Howard was right about the Kyoto Protocol, but he’s wrong now.

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.

Australia has little credibility in the discussions surrounding the need for greater emission reductions in future international agreements to take effect after 2012.

The Government should support Labor’s Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol Ratification) Bill 2005 and join the international community in its global effort. The Bill will have its Second Reading on Monday, 20 June 2005.