Alexa

Australia demands "New Kyoto" in place of "Old"

Australia demands "New Kyoto" in place of "Old"

Australia, criticised as a Kyoto Protocol holdout, on Wednesday stepped up its demands for the climate pact to be scrapped, saying "Old Kyoto" belonged in the "pages of climate change history".
Canberra, which signed but refused to ratify Kyoto, would meet its targets under the pact, despite warnings by Australia's Climate Institute that Greenhouse Gas emissions were set to rise sharply, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
But Kyoto should be replaced with a global agreement which included emerging heavyweights India and China, as well as the world's biggest polluter, the United States, Turnbull said.
"In my view the United States will never ratify the protocol as it stands," Turnbull told Australia's National Press Club.
"Whatever the accounting washup of Kyoto may be, the fact is that the protocol's first commitment period, beginning next year, is rapidly moving into the pages of climate change history."
The Kyoto Protocol, which sets emissions caps for many wealthy signatory countries while setting none for poorer ones such as China, will expire in 2012.
Australia, the world's biggest exporter of coal, has refused to ratify the pact or set binding cuts on carbon emissions, saying the move would unfairly hurt the economy.
Turnbull said on Wednesday that Canberra would spend A$18.5 million ($15.2 million) in energy-hungry China to help cut the country's emissions by capturing methane from underground mining and using it for electricity generation.
China, which along with the United States, Australia, Japan, India and South Korea is a member of a rival Kyoto pact, rejected emissions caps, saying they may hurt growth.
Turnbull, who champions practical measures to fight climate change rather than symbolic pacts like Kyoto, said the protocol had also ignored the need to stop deforestation in developing countries like Indonesia and Brazil.
"It's no wonder Kyoto's results have been so anaemic," he said.
The independent Climate Institute last week said Australia, the world's biggest polluter per capita, would pass its cap of 108 percent of 1990-level greenhouse emissions --a charge Turnbull rejected on Wednesday with the latest 2005 figures.
Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne said Turnbull was trying to bury the bad news that energy and transport emissions had risen in the last two years amid the country's mining and commodity export boom.
Conservative Prime Minister John Howard argues climate change solutions need to be globally agreed rather than limited like "Old Kyoto" to industrialised, mainly European, nations.
But with the government facing re-election later in the year and opinion polls showing climate change is a major issue for 80 percent of voters, Howard has unveiled a range of environment measures to bolster his green credentials.
Australia is expected to make measures to combat climate change the centrepiece of the May 8 Budget, with the government having already flagged spending A$10 billion to reform water use amid a decade of crippling drought.


Updated : 2020-12-05 23:36 GMT+08:00