Is Howard a Climate Coward?

October 7 , 2004

Recent statements by Australian Ministers demonstrate the pressure of the international spotlight after Russia announced its intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The key question is: is this enough to move the Howard government to commit Australia to the only international agreement on climate change?

Friends of the Earth members will drop a banner comparing Howard’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol to the Russian government at 7:30am Thursday morning at the old Victoria Bridge house in South Brisbane.

Friends of the Earth members will come in their best snorkelling gear to signify the impact of sea-level rise as the majority of Australians live on the coast-line.

Spokeswoman for the group, Stephanie Long said “Arguments that Australia is economically dependent on coal and gas and therefore cannot support the Kyoto Protocol are incredibly narrow-minded.”

“Whilst the fossil fuel industry and our existing government continue to be blind-sighted to the immense social and economic costs of climate change, we cannot have a rational debate on what is in Australia’s interests.”

Australia’s natural icons such as the Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics and Alpine regions are greatly under threat by climate change. These areas are significant source of income for the tourism industry. Cities such as Sydney have experienced a spate of intensive summer storms in the past five years, causing millions of dollars of damage. One of the world’s largest re-insurers, Munich Re reported that natural disasters reached $15 billion in 2003.

“With only a few days before the election, the Howard government needs to ask itself if they want to be remembered as the government that turned its back on the international agreement on climate change.” Said Ms. Long.

For comment:

Stephanie Long - 0414 136 461