Friday, December 14, 2007

New PM a dud on climate change

The former Howard government's position on climate change was incredibly backward: it refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol and effectively denied that there was even a problem for ten long years. At least Rudd has ratified and talks of the need to tackle the issue. In reality, however, he is not that far removed from Howard or even the Bush administration.

Rudd will not even set a target, much less take the necessary steps to achieve the target.

WITH less than 24 hours to deadline, the crucial UN climate talks in Bali were deadlocked last night between the US and Europe - with Australia being drawn into the centre of the conflict.

The European Union demanded to know where Australia stood in the attempt by America to remove crucial wording in the draft Bali road map which calls for developed countries to make deep cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions.

Shortly before leaving Bali, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, signalled Australia would back moves by the US to remove the controversial wording from the draft. The Americans have refused to accept the phraseology, which refers to scientific advice that the developed world would need to cut its emissions by between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020 to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.

The EU's Environment Minister, Stavros Dimas, said last night that the wording was "indispensable" to the Bali road map.

"The Prime Minister lost an opportunity in his speech to commit to this range of 25 to 40 per cent," he told reporters, adding, "They still have time."

But in a thinly veiled criticism of Mr Rudd, he said that if Australia refused to back the European stand on the draft road map, the Prime Minister's signing of the Kyoto Protocol "will not have the substance we hoped for".

A spokeswoman for the main environmental groups at the conference, Jennifer Morgan, told reporters: "There is a wrecking crew here in Bali led by the Bush Administration and its minions. Those minions continue to be the governments of Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and others, with unfortunately Australia shadowing that group of minions."

During the long election campaign just concluded with Rudd Labor's sweeping victory, Rudd tried to make a virtue of his conservatism, and how he was much like a younger Howard. It is no such virtue at all, and on issues such as climage change and International Law, I am sure we will see this again and again, unfortunately.

Al Gore stated plainly at Bali that "my own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress."

The United States is a rogue state that must be contained and must not be appeased. Rudd's (partial) alignment of Australia with the US position is a disservice to both the people of Australia and the world community.

Global Warming and Climate Change: Fundamentals

Its anthropogenic (caused by human activity). Global temperature rises need to be kept to a maximum of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels or else risk runaway warming and serious consequences. Emissions need to be reduced by between 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020, and between 60-90% by the year 2050.

The UNEP report said irreversible damage to the world's climate will be likely unless greenhouse gas emissions drop to below 50% of their 1990 levels before 2050. To reach this level, the richer countries must cut emissions by 60% to 80% by 2050 and developing countries must also make significant reductions.