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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Tuesday 17, September 2002
Scientists and environmentalists are today jubilant and celebrating that the hole in the ozone layer is on the mend and it could be completely healed within 50 years. But they're also maintaining their warnings that the international community needs to address the issue of climate change.
The award winning ozone researchers at the CSIRO, say the depleted atmospheric layer is definitely on the mend because CFCs are no longer used as refrigerants. This is only adding to pressure on Australia to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol's to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As Tanya Nolan reports for us, the Federal Government says it just adds more weight to its argument that the Kyoto Protocol is flawed.
Today, there's public confirmation of what science has been predicting for years, that the hole in the ozone layer which is letting in dangerous levels of ultraviolet radiation, will close when harmful chemicals are removed from the atmosphere.
Dr Paul Fraser is co-author of a report just released by the UN and the World Meteorological Organisation, which shows that those ozone depleting chemicals are being reduced at such a rate that makes it likely to happen.
Peter Schwerdtfeter is the Professor of Meteorology with the major national research centre into atmospheric science at Flinders University in Adelaide, and he has no doubt about the CSIRO's predictions.
I doubt that there are, and many other people, organisations, in the world or Australia, who could make such an authoritative statement. So I'm ready to believe them on that and I am pleased at that news. I think it's essential to pull every political and economic hat trick out of the bag to ensure that the world improves on these lines.
It is plea that is being made by other scientists and environmentalists who hold up the Montreal Protocol as proof that global action does work. When it was ratified in 1987, the Protocol was considered a watershed moment in cooperative attempts to solve global problems, marking a new era in environmental consciousness. And Greenpeace says the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is the next major marker. Climate campaigner, Gareth Walton.
It's very clear that the longer you delay taking such action the more expensive it's going to be and that's one of the things that makes the Australian Government's position on Kyoto for example, so crazy because scientists are saying that if we want to solve the problem of climate change we're going to make significant reductions in the worlds greenhouse gas emissions. Between 60 to 80 per cent below 1990 levels and the Government wont sign up to Kyoto because they're saying its going to be too expensive yet its going to be far more expensive the longer we leave it.
But Federal Environment Minister, David Kemp remains unconvinced.
Well the Montreal Protocol shows just what's wrong with Kyoto. Because under the Montreal Protocol developing countries took on specific obligations to reduce the emissions of ozone depleting substances. It was a proper global regime. The problem with Kyoto is, is that it is not a global regime. 75 per cent of global emissions are not covered by Kyoto. Whereas immediately on ratification the Montreal Protocol had 82 per cent of global emissions of ozone depleting substances properly covered within the global framework.