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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

16 September 2002

Expert Debunks Government Critics on Kyoto

A number of government critics have claimed this morning that economic modelling released last week supports their view that Australia should ratify the Kyoto protocol now. This is an outrageous manipulation of the data, plucking one figure from a table that clearly shows the opposite.

Those claims have been debunked today by one of the modellers, Professor Warwick McKibbin.

Professor McKibbin has told the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, that his research "confirms the government's decision not to ratify".

"My report on the impacts of Kyoto on the Australia Economy confirms the government's decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The report shows that in the first few years from 2008, the impacts on Australia of the Kyoto Protocol is dominated by the reduction in our fossil fuel exports resulting from other countries cutting emissions.

Even with the most optimistic view of measures in Australia which might generate permits to sell in the world market, the costs of Australia's participation is only postponed for a few years. By 2015 if Australia ratifies, the costs to Australia of our own actions is nearly the same as the cost to Australia of action by our trading partners and these costs quickly rise.

Taking a single year figure in 2010 as a measure of the costs is misleading. By any calculation, the sum of the future costs to Australia of ratifying Kyoto far outweigh the sum of the future costs of not ratifying. More importantly there is a great deal of uncertainty about the extent of these costs. Even our most optimistic assumptions support the government's decision about the long term costs of ratification. A key finding is that Australia needs to convince the rest of the world to try an alternative approach to Kyoto because Kyoto is clearly not in Australia's economic interest."

Major investment decisions are made with regard not just to the next ten years, but to the decades beyond. Any responsible government must take this into account to protect Australian jobs and investment.

The chorus of critics, including the ALP, which joined the Kyoto conga line before it had the facts at its disposal, would do better to stop pretending that the Protocol will solve the global greenhouse problem and, like the Howard Government, get on with crafting a longer term and more effective policy framework.

Kyoto will deliver at best around one per cent of abatement; fails to cover 75 percent of global greenhouse emissions and does not involve developing countries, who will soon emit over half the world's greenhouse gases.

This government's policies have put Australia on track to meet our Kyoto targets, but will not sacrifice Australian jobs and investment for the sake of looking green rather than delivering real results.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Related Information

Modeling Results for the Kyoto Protocol

Report to the Australian Greenhouse Office
Warwick J. McKibbin
McKibbin Software Group Pty Ltd
15 March 2002
Revised - April 5, 2002

Table 7: Summary of Impacts on Australia 2010 to 2020
  2010 2015 2020
Australia in Kyoto without measures -0.41 -0.58 -0.67
Australia in Kyoto with measures -0.33 -0.47 -0.51
Australia not in Kyoto -0.40 -0.38 -0.30

Table shows impact on real GNP in 2010, 2015 and 2020

Commonwealth of Australia