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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

14 August 2002

Labor's Muddle on Climate Change

Delivering on our Kyoto target:

Labor is promising no more greenhouse abatement than the Howard Government is already working towards achieving - that is: the 108 per cent target agreed to in Kyoto.

Mr Crean claims that the climate change programs put in place by the Howard Government have failed to deliver emissions reductions beyond business as usual. This is completely wrong.

It's typical of Labor to release a so?called policy statement without waiting to hear the facts. When the most up to date figures are released tomorrow, they will show just how much the Government's $1 billion greenhouse abatement program is achieving.

Ratification of Kyoto:

Labor remains true to form. If it's a treaty, sign it!

Labor's panacea for global climate action amounts to no more than ratification of the Kyoto Protocol - a treaty which fails to provide the pathway to the global action Labor says it wants.

Most of the world's greenhouse gases come from countries outside the Kyoto Protocol and the Protocol processes have so far offered no pathway to bringing them in. The Protocol does not include the world's biggest emitter, the United States, nor the developing countries, which will be the world's biggest emitters within a decade.

Or are we expected to believe that United States President George Bush will want to play "Simple Simon Says" when the man from Hotham comes knocking on the White House door?

Labor's failure to accept the reality of the United States' refusal to ratify Kyoto means that Labor could never have obtained for Australia's scientists, technologists and businesses the benefits that will flow from the Climate Action Partnership the Howard Government has successfully put in place.

Labor's approach to addressing climate change is its typical "top down" tactic. It has decided on its approach without the research, the facts and without consultation with stakeholders.

On matters of substance Labor offers nothing new. It will set up a committee that is merely a copy of the Sustainable Environment Committee of Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister and commission research into possibilities that are already realities.

Labor is way behind in calling for clean coal technologies. The Government is already funding the vital research and technologies to make these a reality.

Tomorrow's data:

Tomorrow the Howard Government will release results of the National Carbon Accounting System, the Third National Communication on Climate Change and the National Greenhouse Inventory 2000. Instead of cheaply trying to gazump this news, Mr Crean should have waited for this information before issuing his first statement on climate change. He could then have based his statement on the reality that Australia is well placed to achieve its Kyoto target.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia