21 November 2007

Australia to Sign Kyoto if Labor Wins

Australia's Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd announced yesterday he intends to sign the Kyoto pact and attend next month's climate summit in Bali, if his party wins power in the parliamentary elections this weekend.

Rudd said combating global warming would be his top priority should he become prime minister as a result of the November 24 voting. Currently he has a strong lead in the polls over conservative prime minister John Howard.

Should Rudd win and attend the Bali conference, it will send a strong message that Australia has joined the international movement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.

He would be one of the only state leaders in attendance, as the conference will mainly be attended by environmental ministers.

"There is no better way to reinforce that than prime ministerial attendance. It would be a way of indicating ... that we intend to be globally, diplomatically active," Rudd said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

Australia and the US were the only industrialized nations not to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol.

Rudd's leadership would put greater pressure on the U.S. to join whatever international agreement is negotiated as a successor to Kyoto.

Australia is the world's biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gasses.

Environmental issues have been central to the six-week election cycle in the nation where young voters seem to be pushing for change, despite economic growth in the last two decades and unemployment at it lowest level in 33 years.


This article is reproduced with kind permission of Originally published 19 Nov 2007.

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