Sydney Declaration – lacks decisiveness, Kyoto the main game Media Release

Sep 09, 2007 - 12:43pm

The Climate Institute today said reports of the death or expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 are misinformed and the Sydney Declaration serves as a stark reminder that the Kyoto Protocol framework is the only real framework available for action to reduce global greenhouse pollution.

The Institute also singled out Australia and the US’s refusal to ratify and commit to binding reduction targets in the next phase of the Kyoto framework post 2012, as the real obstacle to global greenhouse pollution reduction and the broader involvement of developing countries.

“The Kyoto framework established real carbon markets worth $37 billion in 2006 and estimated to be worth $55 billion in 2007. Australia and US proposals for a vague network of voluntary national targets take us back to the mid 1990s and undermines those burgeoning markets which include billions of dollars of investment in clean energy technologies in developing countries,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

In 2006 the Kyoto framework’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) leveraged at least $32 billion of investment in clean technologies in developing countries. That has been driven by developed countries working to meet their 2012 Kyoto binding targets.

“Almost ten years ago, in what now has to be seen as a triumph of global diplomacy, nations agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to both an enduring framework and a target for the first period under the framework which runs from 2008 to 2012.  The first target is for 2012, the framework endures.”

“Kyoto is the first and only agreement to actually reduce global greenhouse pollution and its framework of connected binding targets for developed countries and the CDM for developing countries is the only realistic way forward. 

“China, whose historic greenhouse pollution levels are decades behind those of US and Europe, has joined other developing nations in calling on developed nations to show leadership and move first with binding targets.”

“Under the Kyoto framework all APEC nations, except for Australia and US, are now negotiating improvements including stronger binding pollution reduction targets for developed countries and better CDM and deforestation rules.  Alternative forums can help, but the sooner Australia and the US re-engage with the international community under Kyoto the sooner we’ll be on a path to avoid dangerous climate change.”

“It has also been extraordinary to see much being made of the recognition that ‘all nations, no matter what their stage of development, [need] to contribute according to their own capacities and their own circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases’. This is precisely consistent with the Kyoto Protocol – remembering that Australia was one of the few countries with an increased greenhouse target of 108% on 1990."

While welcoming aims to increase forest cover in APEC countries by at least 20 million hectares within 13 years, The Climate Institute restated its earlier analysis of the energy efficiency target of improving APEC energy efficiency at least 25 per cent by 2030 as only business as usual and insufficient to reversing rising greenhouse pollution.

“The climate crisis is too urgent for a voluntary framework and merely working ‘to achieve a common understanding on long term aspirational global emission reductions’. Far greater Australian leadership is required. We need to reverse our own rising greenhouse pollution, ensure all new electricity comes from clean energy and commit to binding reduction targets,” concluded Mr Connor.

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