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Who is listening to Australia on Kyoto? « Previous | |Next »
November 15, 2006

Though the Howard Government trumpets its world leadership in addressing climate change, Australia only has observer status at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi. Australia's big move is to host a cocktail party for the AP6 group in Nairobi. The strategy of this group has no targets, no plans other than geosequestration technology, and no incentives to deploy the techology when it come on stream in a decadwes time. That is how it is going to minimise the risk of a 2C rise in temperatures - seen as the threshold for dangerous climate change -

Geoff Pryor

This is a government, which defends the polluting actions of the minerals, aluminium, power, paper and chemicals companies, has blocked any all attempts to introducing emissions trading in Australia, and closed down research in renewable energy. It has done little to encourage the take-up of readily available energy-efficient technologies and know-how to produces less pollution, less warming, more electricity and more output and continually runs the line that low emissions need low growth and stifling Australia's economic growth. As Andrew MacIntosh says:

The Government's strategy on climate change has been simple. Deny it and muddy the waters on the science for as long as possible, while providing large subsidies to the fossil fuel industry under the guise of greenhouse programs. his dual approach is intended to stifle the impetus for change...The Government will deserve accolades if it introduces a comprehensive carbon trading scheme. Anything less is just window-dressing designed to put off the inevitable.

Even though it has done nothing for a decade, the Howard Government now spinning a major new climate change strategy called post-Kyoto. Even though the Kyoto Protocol is now fully operational, a global emissions market already exists now and it's worth $30 billion, and Kyoto includes a Clean Development Mechanism which could generate $100 billion for developing countries.

Kyoto is dismissed as a slogan by the Howard Government. The Australian business round table on climate change, which is set up by a number of leading Australian business people is currently running the line that the Kyoto Protocol was obsolete and the Howard Government must move on.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:10 AM | | Comments (4)


The spin is incredible - and the incredible hypocrisy being shown by Howard and co is just breathtaking.

I am just totally dumbfounded by it all.

Will Howard's minimal gestures towards greenhouse reduction actually convince the voters that we are doing something?

Both the Business Council of Australia and the Howard Government sure have done an about face: they have shifted from being greenhouse sceptics to advocating emissions trading and establishing an emissions trading taskforce.

I would suspect that it will take them some time to set it up---six years?---and that it will necessarily be tucked into the United Nations greenhouse framework--the next round of Kyoto begins in 2012. Aren't they opposed to the UN framework?

We also have those free marketeers who once opposed an emissions trading market because they were protecting the coal industry etc, now coming out and saying that carbon taxes and emissions trading, by raising the prices of dominant forms of energy, facilitate energy efficiency. That is a good thing they say.

Why good now and not yesterday?

It just feels like another big business hijack of the agenda.

Use the language, talk the talk, but business goes on as usual in the background behind a veneer of responsiveness.

The program to discredit the existence of global warming has failed, their actions now are to get inside the debate and derail it with it's own momentum.

I don't see any real changes in direction, just changes in rhetoric.

you don't hear much in Australia about preventing the 2°C increase as a target. Beyond that threshold, the extent and magnitude of impacts are likely to increase in a way that may widely be considered as being dangerous, and in some cases irreversible in relation to water scarcity, agricultural production,loss of ecosystems, and abrupt changes in climate.

No one is saying what level of risk is tolerable. Do we accepting a high risk today of exceeding 2°C? The dominant view is that have decades in which to bend the global CO2 curve, so there is no need for action for about 6 years or so.

No one is really saying that the objective needs to be to stabilise rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere below a level that would trigger dangerous rates of climate change.