New Asia-Pacific deal will not tackle climate change

In late July, the Howard government released details on the 'Asia-Pacific climate plan'.

The proposed alliance between Australia, the US, China, India and South Korea does not address the immediate need to cut greenhouse pollution by at least 60 per cent by 2050. Although detail on the 'secret plan' is difficult to access, it appears to contain no binding commitments.

Climate change is recognised as being an enormous issue, and requires a co-ordinated international response. By staying out of the 'main game', the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases, the USA and Australia are open to criticism that they are only looking after their narrowly defined interests at the expense of the rest of the world.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell says we need to develop and export new technologies, however, the truth is we are not doing nearly enough to develop our own domestic industry. Last year the Australian government refused to increase the national renewable energy targets, and it has cut funding for research into renewables.  Its connection to the coal industry means that it cannot take a truly visionary response on the question of global warming.

“The detail behind this new pact is unclear, but it looks suspiciously as though this will be business as usual for Australia and the United States.  This new ‘climate plan’ seems to be a continuance of the allusive search for the technological fix to climate change and one that would allow Australia to maintain our coal and gas export relationships with the rapidly growing markets of China and Korea. A deal on technology, supported by voluntary measures to reduce emissions, will not address climate change. This is yet another attempt by the US and Australian administrations to undermine the efforts of the 140 countries who have signed the Kyoto Protocol.” said Cam Walker, for Friends of the Earth Australia. 

Cam Walker: 0419 338 047