New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ratifies the Kyoto Protocol
- 03 December 2007
In his very first act as Australia's 26th Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The new prime minister issued a statement declaring: "This is the first official act of the new Australian Government, demonstrating my Government's commitment to tackling climate change."
The ratification signals a definitive sea change in Australia's stance on climate change. Many observers have attributed Labor's landslide victory over the Liberal Howard administration to its pledge to tackle climate change. This morning's events signal the new Prime Minister's intent to make good on his commitments.
The commitment also holds far-reaching implications in the international arena. In ratifying Kyoto, Australia has isolated the US as the single major country to fail to ratify the global treaty and will inevitably subject it to mounting international pressure to join in - or risk being left out of - future global climate commitments.
Prime Minister Rudd also reversed his predecessor's refusal to attend the the UN Climate Change Conference commencing today in Bali.
This crucial climate conference aims to lay the roadmap for a new global compact that will take over when Kyoto expires in 2012. Prime Minister Rudd has announced his intention to attend and participate as fully as possible in the conference, where news of the Australian ratification was greeted by a standing ovation this morning.
Rupert Posner, Australian Director of The °Climate Group said: "We welcome the fact that Mr Rudd will attend next month's climate change meeting in Bali. It sends a strong message that Australia is once again going to take a leading role in helping the world address climate change."
During his campaign Mr Rudd also committed to reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050, increasing the country's renewable energy to 20% by 2020 and introducing emissions trading.