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Australia Ratifies Kyoto Protocol (article for newspaper inserts) October 8, 2007



Howard finally sees the light

In an unforeseen change of mind (and heart) Prime Minister John Howard has finally made the long awaited decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The announcement was made this morning with Howard stating, “Australia is on track to achieve its target of limited greenhouse emissions to 108% of 1990 emissions over the period 2008-2012, as agreed at Kyoto”.

Actually, that is what he said in 2003. Despite meeting emission targets and the country experiencing an economic boom, surly now, more than ever, we have the money and resources to help out poor old Mother Nature?

Both the United States and Australia are well known for favoring their respective economies over the environment and the global warming threat. It is a sad fact that Australia has one of the highest greenhouse gas emission rates per capita in the developed world. We rate 17th on the list of top pollutants, and yet our Prime Minister still refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Despite being involved in negotiating the treaty, Australia was one of the first countries to sign a precursor to ratifying it in 1997. Ridiculously contradictory one would think. In true Howard style, the PM continued his little game of ‘follow the leader (a.k.a Bush)’ by refusing to sign the Protocol after the US did the same. It is about time a new leader is followed, perhaps the European Union that ratified en masse in 2002.

Howard seems to be under the impression that signing will “cost us jobs and damage our industry”. Surely the new Industrial Relation laws are far more effective in this. In addition, the current $52.8 million ‘Be Climate Clever ‘I can do that” advertising campaign is a seemingly halfhearted attempt to reduce this countries greenhouse effluence. If the government really wanted to make a difference they would sign the agreement and live up to its promises.

For the Kyoto Protocol to take any significant positive effect on the globe, it needs to be adopted by countries that collectively create 55% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions, but with Australia and the US still unsigned, only 36% is accounted for. The Australian opposition is in favour of signing, claiming the move is ‘risk free’, so why is it that the coalition cannot see the light?

Come on Howard, step up. You’re making the whole country look like a bunch of heartless, money hungry bandits who don’t give two hoots about the environment and climate change.

Global warming is not going to go away and the time to act is now.



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