Australia plays international brat at climate talks

Press release - 7 November, 2001

Bleached coral, Great Barrier Reef. Effects of climate change.

The Australian delegation at the Kyoto Protocol climate negotiations in Marrakech is continuing to abuse the government's caretaker role pending the Federal election, by trying to break the link between the "rules" of compliance and the benefits of being involved, Greenpeace said.

"Australia is playing the role of an international selfish brat," said Bill Hare, Greenpeace climate policy director. "There are mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gases under the protocol, such as emissions trading, which Australia sees as advantageous. It wants huge so-called forest and sink credits. But it does not want these subject to the rules of reporting and compliance, which are required to take part in the trading system."

"It's like saying you want to be part of a team and play in the game, but under these 'Australian Rules' the referee would be blindfolded."

A joint letter to the Australian delegation signed by the Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Climate Action Network, has requested that the Australian delegation 'stand down' from the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

"Australia is obstructing the preparation of an international treaty which the Howard Government has said it would not ratify without the US and until full costs were known,' said Hare. "However, the Protocol has the support of mainstream opposition parties that have announced plans to ratify if elected. This is a clear breach of the Government's caretaker role while in election mode."

Prime Minister John Howard has said that Australia would not ratify until the Americans were on board, and developing countries had accepted commitments.

"Everyone knows that none of that is going to happen here. So why is Australia pretending to be a serious participant in the negotiations?" said Hare. "John Howard should call his delegation to stand down from the Kyoto Protocol negotiations immediately."

"Australia goes to the polls one day after this meeting closes here in Marrakech. It is simply wrong for John Howard to instruct his delegation to pull apart this agreement, when both the major opposition parties, the ALP and the Democrats, have announced they would ratify the protocol if elected. What sort of mandate does Howard think he has to fiddle with this agreement?"

Notes: A brat is a spoilt child, usually one behaving in a selfish manner.