Monday, 3 December 2007

Australia Joins the Fight Against Climate Change

Australia's new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, ratified the Kyoto Protocol today. It was his first official action after taking the oath of office.

According to the New York Times, "This is the first official act of the new Australian government, demonstrating my government's commitment to tackling climate change," Rudd said in a statement.

The previous government refused to back legally binding emisssions targets, arguing that they would harm the economy. The Times reports that this view has now shifted:

But a new report from the environment think tank the Climate Institute, written by government and university scientists, found that Australia's economy could easily cope with strong cuts in greenhouse emissions.

It said growth would fall by only 0.1 percent of gross domestic product annually if Australia set a target of 20 percent cuts in emissions by 2020 and aimed to be carbon neutral by 2050.

"Leading the way on climate is an affordable, prudent and achievable investment," Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said on Monday.

Australia's move means that the U.S. is the only industrialised country yet to endorse the global climate change agreement.

It would be interesting to see how this new commitment affects the existing carbon offsetting scheme set up under the previous government.

(Back to Carbon Clear)