Kyoto greenhouse shocker
The world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, the USA, has torn up the global program for reducing greenhouse emissions, the UN Kyoto Protocol. The Howard Government has dutifully bowed to the move by its US master. "If the United States walked away from the Kyoto Protocol, that would be the end of the Kyoto Protocol", said a compliant Environment Minister, Robert Hill. A Bush administration spokesman said the move to scrap the Protocol was because "it is not in the United States' economic best interests". The US Government's Environment Protection Agency stated that "we have no interest in implementing that [Kyoto Protocol] treaty". The Business Council of Australia enthusiastically called the US action "a healthy dose of realism": industry would have to forgo some of its profits if the greenhouse targets were to be met. The Australian Government has acted as a forward defence for the US's position since the international meeting which produced the agreement in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. From its inception, the Protocol has been handicapped by major industrialised countries Japan, the US, Australia and Canada who have refused to ratify the treaty. They continued to push for the inclusion of developing countries such as China, India and Brazil, which are exempted from the reduction targets because of their under-developed status. It is the exemption of these countries which has been used as a pretext by the US and its followers to not sign the Protocol. Instead, the Bush Government is now promoting nuclear energy. "If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions then you ought to build nuclear power plants", said US Vice President and oil billionaire, Dick Cheney. Greens Senator Bob Brown said Prime Minister Howard should call George Bush and ask him to revise the decision, saying Bush had caved in to the greed of the corporate lobby. "It is a low point in world environment history", said Senator Brown, who dismissed claims by the Howard Government that Australia will achieve its Kyoto emission targets by 2010. By 1998 Australia was producing 16.9 percent more greenhouse gases than the Kyoto 2010 target. In fact, Environment Minister Hill's own Australian Greenhouse Office says that the growth in total emissions will be at least 18 percent, and could be up to 48 percent, over target by 2010.