Australian election result leaves President Bush isolated on climate - Greenpeace International
Sydney, 25 November 2007 - The new Australian Government’s commitment to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol leaves US President George W. Bush isolated in his battle against international action on climate change, Greenpeace International said today.
There is likely to be a sigh of relief from government negotiators around the world who will shortly head to Bali, Indonesia, for discussions on how to strengthen the Kyoto climate treaty in its second phase, post-2012.
“The atmosphere at next week’s Kyoto talks in Bali will be markedly different due to this election result. The US Administration will no longer be able to plot with the Australians in its effort to destroy international progress against climate change,” said Shane Rattenbury, political director of Greenpeace International.
The Australian Prime Minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, has promised to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and has also stated that he will attend the climate talks in Bali, which start next week. This is in marked contrast to the outgoing premier, John Howard, who sided with the US for 10 years in fighting the international process. Australia’s ratification of Kyoto will leave the US as the only industrialised country which has not ratified the international agreement.
Greenpeace played a central role in getting the Australian Labour Party to agree to Kyoto ratification.
“UN climate scientists are telling us that emissions of greenhouse gases must peak in just seven years – 2015 – and then be reduced. We expect the Prime Minister Elect, Kevin Rudd, to take a position of leadership when he goes to the climate talks in Bali in two weeks' time, rather than being the destructive force that Australia has been over the past decade," said Rattenbury.
Greenpeace called on Australia to join with the European Union by committing to cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of at least 30 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 – the levels of reductions required from industrialised countries in order to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
Greenpeace believes it is possible to keep the worst impacts of climate change - such as extreme weather events, water crises and increased hunger - from putting millions of people at risk. This requires a revolution in the way energy is produced and used, and commitment to stop deforestation worldwide. Next week’s climate conference, in Bali, is a key opportunity for laying the foundations for achieving this.