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Tide turning on climate change, Howard must act

Tide turning on climate change - PM Howard will be forced to act

The global tide is turning on climate change, leaving Prime Minister
John Howard with no option but to set greenhouse gas emission targets and establish an emission trading system to allow the marketplace to determine how best to meet them, the Australian Greens said today.

"British businessman Richard Branson's announcement that he will commit $US3 billion over the next decade towards renewable energy initiatives is the latest significant development in the climate change debate," Senator Milne said.

"In the past few weeks, Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, has focused attention on the urgency of climate change and the catastrophic consequences of failing to act.

"Winter grain harvest forecasts were down significantly this week on the back of a record dry winter, while scientists in Europe alerted the world to the break up of previously perennial Artic sea ice between Norway and the North Pole.

"The state of California announced it is suing car manufacturers over their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, while the Murdoch media empire last week did a major back flip, finally acknowledging the seriousness of climate change.

"With speculation growing that US President George Bush is about to make a major policy U-turn, Prime Minister John Howard is left dragging the anchor on the rising tide of global opinion that we need to act urgently to address climate change.

"Prime Minister Howard will be left with no option but to act. As well as an emission trading system, Australia desperately needs a bolder Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and feed-in tariffs.

"As long as Australia refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, we undermine the principal international mechanism for tackling the most serious threat to the planet.

"Ratifying Kyoto would provide access to carbon trading and technology transfer opportunities. Remaining outside Kyoto poses much more of a threat to the Australian economy in the long run and leaves Australia vulnerable to an avalanche of global condemnation."

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