Kyoto ratified

Australia’s newly elected government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol [1], as the next stage is discussed in Bali, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference opened yesterday. [2]

Australia will now enjoy full participation in negotiations for a post-Kyoto treaty to fight global warming. [3]

ACF has previously said ratification will:

  1. strengthen Australia’s ability to urge China and the US to commit to reducing greenhouse pollution.
  2. give Australian businesses access to the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading mechanisms, worth an estimated $3.8 billion per year for Australia.
  3. give Australia voting rights at the crucial meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol at Bali in December. [4]

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said,

the federal government would do everything in its power to help Australia meet its Kyoto obligations, including setting a target to reduce emissions by 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2050. It also would establish a national emissions trading scheme by 2010 and set a 20 per cent target for renewable energy by 2020. [5]

The new government is currently reviewing the content of the Australian Greenhouse Office website, because many of the past policies of this department will change. The new Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts is Peter Garrett, former President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Although he may have lost his way in becoming a politician [6], he’s better than his predecessor. Penny Wong is the Minister for Climate Change and Water.

The ratification won’t achieve much in the short term [7] in lessening Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions because of past government inaction. The specially pleaded (embarrassingly so) target allows 8% over 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Institute stated earlier in the year,

Even with Government projected trends, total emissions in 2010 will be more than 110% of 1990 emissions and it is looking increasing unlikely that Australia will meet its goal of meeting its Kyoto target of 108% of 1990 emissions.

Hopefully from now on, government policies will improve and contribute to decreasing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.



  1. Australia ‘back on the map’ with Kyoto decision (2007) ABC News, 4 Dec.
  2. Climate change summit to open in Bali (2007) ABC News, 3 Dec.
  3. AAP (2007) Applause for Australia over Kyoto shift The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Dec.
  4. Australian Conservation Foundation (2007) The Kyoto Protocol is alive and well.
  5. AAP (2007) Australia ratifies Kyoto Protocol The West Australian, 3 Dec.
  6. Brown accuses Garrett of deserting environment (2007) ABC News, 5 Oct.
  7. Ratifying Kyoto Protocol takes time: law expert (2007) ABC News, 27 Nov.

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