Australian Delegation Swimming Against the Tide of Public Opinion in Bonn

July 22, 2001

The Franciscan International Group read the prayer written by Australian church leaders outside the Maritim Conference Centre in Bonn yesterday. Inside the Australian delegation has been swimming against the tide of international and domestic opinion, as countries try to reach agreement about the rules of implementing the historic Kyoto Protocol.

'The mood of the talks and the atmosphere here shows that every other country is acknowledging the importance of an outcome in Bonn,' said ACF campaigner Nicolette Boele. 'The international delegates are taking Australia less and less seriously.'

'Australia's pandering to the United States instead of recognising the importance of international relations with the EU and non-Annex B countries has backfired on them' said Friends of the Earth spokesperson Tristy Fairfield. 'Domestically people have realised that Australia should take its regional responsibilities seriously and think about the impact of their actions on their neighbours in the Pacific region.'

Thousands of people have gathered at the conference centre in Bonn to build a giant lifeboat as a symbolic plea for negotiators to co-operate and find solutions to the global crisis of climate change. In Australia, colourful protests will take place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney today, July 22nd, 2001. The message to the Australian government is clear: "Save the Climate: Commit to ratifying a fair and equitable Kyoto Protocol!"

For more information contact:

Tristy Fairfield
Friends of the Earth
Ph: 0411 220 704

Nicolette Boele
Australian Conservation Foundation(in Bonn)
Ph: + 61 438 043 049