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Kyoto: a step forward « Previous | |Next »
December 11, 2005

The Washington Post reports some sucesses at the Montreal Kyoto conference. It states 'all the industrialized nations except the United States and Australia reached an agreement early Saturday to embark on a fresh round of formal talks aimed at setting new mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions after 2012' when the existing Kyoto Protocol agreement expires. America has refused to engage in future negotiations on climate change.

Nick Anderson

Both the Howard Government and the Bush administration disavowed the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, and they opposed any kind of mandatory limits on carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. Both have argued that research, new technology and market forces are the best way to address warming linked to the buildup of greenhouse gases. Both have fiercely resisting any new international talks to address the Earth's warming climate along the lines of the Kyoto protocol.

The news report states that:

"... the agreement among Kyoto parties both commits most of the world's most influential nations to negotiating a new set of emission cuts and forces them to evaluate at their 2006 meeting whether the current climate regime is working. In the second, broader pact, nearly 200 countries agreed to start an informal dialogue to determine what else should be done to address climate change. This accord calls for developing nations such as China and India, which are not obligated by the Kyoto targets, to adopt voluntary emissions cuts that they could trade for credits on the international carbon market established under Kyoto."

Australia's position is that Kyoto would damage the Australian economy. What this means is that the oil, energy and energy intensive companies are affected by legal commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because burning their products produce most of the greenhouse emissions.

In Australia The energy-intensive industries have formed an anti-Kyoto lobby that has been engaged in a systematic campaign to prevent Australia signing up to the Kyoto protocol to reduce emissions that lead to global warming. They run the Howard Government's energy policy and their discourse is about needing to dispel the myth of global warming, highlighting the uncertainties in climate science and disputing the need to take action.

Senator Campbell, the Australian Environment Minister, continues to maintain both that Australia and the US were right not to ratify the protocol and that the Kyoto Protocol was almost buried! Who is he trying to fool?

John Quiggin states that Campbellā€™s statement is designed to give him cover with the domestic anti-Kyoto lobby for his break with the US position and to support Canada's call for two years of global talks on future co-operation on climate change. John is probably right.

However, the shift that Campbell has made is a minimal one: he's just going to engage in future negotiations on climate change whilst continuing the government's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. Australia still remains outside the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and so its firms cannot trade for credits on the international carbon market established under Kyoto.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:44 AM | | Comments (0)