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December 7, 2007

Australia's Kyoto Ratification Thrills the World

By Climate Ark and Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.climateark.org/
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol [search] on climate change this week, receiving a deserved standing ovation from Bali climate conference delegates. Ratification resulted from the election of a new Prime Minister. Ecological Internet's global network helped a bit, campaigning on many occasions over the past decade for Australia to ratify Kyoto, rejoining responsible nations.

"Australia's embrace of Kyoto shows environmental campaigning should focus not only upon what is easy, but rather take principled long-term positions regarding what is necessary to achieve global ecological sustainability. If Australia can ratify Kyoto, certainly pigs can fly; and coal emissions and ancient forest logging ended", notes Dr. Glen Barry.

"Global heating threatens the Earth's ecosystems and human habitat. Kyoto establishes important global mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that once universally in place, can be expanded and tightened. With Australia on board, and American elections looming, it is almost certain the U.S. will follow, to be joined by China and India in mandatory emission cuts."

On several occasions, when Australian Kyoto ratification was considered impossible, Ecological Internet's network -- including people from most countries and thousands of Australians -- sent hundreds of thousands of protest emails, inundating the Australian government. This kept the issue alive, helped raise its profile, and ultimately illustrated Australia's isolation contributing to the current political change.

Congratulations are due to Australia's new leader, Prime Minister Rudd, and to the Australian people for connecting the current deadly drought with their own government's irresponsible climate policies. Ecological Internet calls upon the new Labor government to next fully protect Tasmanian and other primary forests, and begin restricting coal production.

###ENDS###

Dr. Glen Barry
President
Ecological Internet, Inc.
P.O. Box 433
Denmark, WI 54208
USA
GlenBarry@EcologicalInternet.org
+1 920 776 1075 phone

Ecological Internet's projects include:

EcoEarth.Info -- http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark -- http://www.climateark.org/
Forests.org -- http://forests.org/
Water Conserve -- http://www.waterconserve.org/
Rainforest Portal -- http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Ocean Conserve -- http://www.oceanconserve.org/
My.EcoEarth.Info -- http://My.EcoEarth.info/

Discuss


Comments

good stuff glen -
i have been 'educating' the labor party minions and advisors on this, and other eco issues for a long time now - its great to see some sanity creeping in -- however, there has been a split in the environment ministry - theres a new ministry of climate change and water, [supposedly a ministry dealing with international affairs] and the environment ministry has had arts, and heritage added to the portfolio -- we will have to wait and see how it pans out - looks good internationally, but shaky on internal policies relating to flora and fauna -
:}
b
"every drop of rain that falls ends up in the mouths of whales - it is up to humans to control what substances enter that raindrop during its journey to the ocean"

Thanks!!! for the news!
...haven't gotten to the newspaper yet...
N.

Glen, While congratulating Kevin Rudd for Australia's signing of Kyoto is in
order, it is also somewhat ironic in many ways.
His pro big business views mean that his Government is:
-backing expansion of Australia's Coal Industry
-supporting the devestation of Tasmanian forests through support for a dioxin
pollutiong paper mill in norther Tasmania
- avoiding setting down short-term targets for Co2 emissions
- similarly avoiding the development of infrastructure required to reduce
emissions or deal with rising fuel prices
If you don't have viable short, medium and long term plans to deal with
global warming based around avoiding temp rises of less than 2degrees, then nations
are not serious about the issue.
The major challenge will be to get countries making the right noises to
actually devise and implement adequate plans. Getting Australia to do so under Rudd
is a huge challenge.
Geoff Lazarus

Absolutely agree with everything you say. Coal is king in Australia, as it is in many places. I think it is important we congratulate incremental good behavior as we will never get all that is necessary in one gulp. I raised these issues at the end of the press release.
Regards,
Glen

Yes Glen, Australia's ratification of Kyoto is a stellar example of how pressure can work. It's particularly interesting that the remnants of the previous government now also support the Kyoto Protocol!
We hope there will be further policy changes but with big businesses still in the driver's seat and the new Environment Minister effectively side-lined by the Prime Minister, it will still be a battle to ensure there are changes to logging practices within Australia.
Cheers
Phil Westwood
Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc Landcare Group
http://bassbush.htmlplanet.com
margo kroyer-pedersen widlife shelter

Dear Glen,

I am very sorry to have to write to you to say that your press release regarding australia's siging of the kyoto protocol saddens me greatly. I have been a supporter of Ecological Internet's email actions and financially for some time. I heard that at one point you had intended to go to the Bali conference but did not go after all. If you had been able to go you would have met my wife, Almuth, there and I am sure she would have much liked to meet you.

I am sending you a couple of things, one she wrote and one she sent. Could it not be that Australia's government have simply realised that they are missing a share of the market by signing kyoto? Whatever the reason, it is nothing to celebrate and not good for our future. I will continue to support Ecological Internet - however I will be cautious about which email actions I take part in. And please consider how EI can best avoid supporting the false solutions which Almuth talks about.

Yours sincerely, Alan Fleming

Hi,

I thought people might like to see some alternative
views from the Bali Climate Conference. I am here
with a colleague from Biofuelwatch and we joined in
with others who formed a Climate Justice Group -
people who are horrified to see that the climate
negotiations are little else than a carbon trade fair,
with critical NGOs being virtually excluded and
completely marginalise, all NGOs moved to a venue 20
minutes from the main conference centre, and with
indigenous peoples organisations not given a proper
voice.

Here is the first edition of a short newsletter which
our colleagues have written:
http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?&act_id=17652.
And below is an article by the World Rainforest
Movement.

Good luck on 8th December!

Best wishes,

Almuth

WRM: (www.wrm.org.uy)

OUR VIEWPOINT

- The 13th round of the climate game in Bali

In 1992, governments acknowledged that climate change
was real and that something needed to be done to avoid
a major catastrophe. As a result, they signed and
ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC). Fifteen years have passed and
the Convention’s Conference of the Parties will meet
for its 13th time in Bali, Indonesia, from 3-14
December 2007.

How much has this convention achieved to counter the
problem it was created to address? Have the main
emitters reduced their emissions? The press release
prepared for this event by the Convention’s
secretariat gives a clear answer to both questions,
when it says:

“According to data submitted to the secretariat of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), the total greenhouse gas emissions of 40
industrialized countries rose to an all-time high in
2005, continuing the upward trend of the year before.”

This means that the countries that bear most of the
responsibility for destroying the Earth’s climate are
continuing to do so. In spite of that, they will again
attend the Climate Change Convention and will put
forward new proposals … for continuing business as
usual.

Business: this is the best way to describe this
Convention. It’s all about saving and making money.
Paraphrasing former president Clinton, during his 1992
presidential campaign, it’s not the climate: it’s the
economy, stupid!

Again the Convention secretariat’s press release
provides evidence on the above by saying that “The
Kyoto Protocol has spawned international emissions
trading worth 30 billion dollars in 2006, with the
bulk of emissions trading taking place within the
European Union’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).
The EU ETS will be linked to trading under the Kyoto
Protocol next year. The Protocol’s CDM is already
enjoying rapid growth.”

It is access to those billions of dollars –and not
climate– that matters. New clever schemes are being
invented all the time, hidden under obscure acronyms
that the general public is unable to decipher: CDM,
JI, PCF and many others. In Bali there will now be
discussions on two new acronyms –RED and REDD– which
stand for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation”, and
for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest
Degradation”.

The RED/REDD game is about to start in Bali. Southern
government players, actively destroying forests in
their countries –and thereby releasing enormous
amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere– will
declare that they need to be “compensated” in order to
conserve forests and the carbon stored therein.
Northern government players, actively contributing to
the destruction of those same forests through
investments and trade will declare that they are
willing to pay if their own releases of enormous
amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere are
“compensated” through carbon trading.

Of course those forests need to be conserved, but not
simply because of their carbon storage capacity. Among
many other reasons, because they help to regulate the
water cycle and contain most of terrestrial
biodiversity. Even more importantly, because they are
home to countless peoples and cultures that depend on
them. In that respect, Southern governments need to be
reminded that forest conservation is an obligation
towards their own peoples and not a negotiable market
commodity. For their part, Northern governments need
to be reminded –by the world at large– that their
fossil fuel-related emissions are destroying the
planet’s climate and cannot be “compensated” by paying
for forest conservation or by buying carbon credits
from others.

The question is: can we expect something positive from
the Bali meeting? The sad answer is that we very much
doubt it. To make matters worse, the World Bank will
use the opportunity to try to sell its more recent
invention –the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility–
while carbon brokers, nuclear energy companies,
agrofuel proponents, hydroelectric corporations,
biotechnology firms, assorted consultants, will all
try to sell their goods and services in what has
become something more akin to a market than to a UN
Convention.

Of course NGO participants in Bali will be able to do
some damage control regarding some of the more
damaging proposals put forward by governments, but
their main responsibility will be to later inform
people about what their governments are NOT doing to
address climate change. It is people –and particularly
the more vulnerable groups such as poor women, men and
children– who will suffer the most and who therefore
need to be well informed, because only informed
peoples will be able to force governments into real
action before it is too late. It’s not the economy:
it’s humanity, stupid!

Hi Alan,
I am aware that my continued support for the Kyoto process rubs some wrong. The weaknesses of the system are well known, and I agree with most of these critiques. Yet short of revolution, what is the alternative international process to enable nations to cooperatively reduce emissions? Do we just throw Kyoto away? Or does it provide the basis and mechanisms for something that can be tightened much as the Montreal Protocol was?

It is all well and good to be against things -- both in climate and rainforests -- but what is the alternative? Is our message that you cannot log rainforests, or even be paid not to cut them down? We are against many things, but what are we for? I am for any commitments to reduce emissions and end ancient forest logging, even if this means I am sometimes politically incorrect.

Yes, international consensus is messy and rarely achieves what we know to be necessary. The devil is in the details. But Kyoto appears to be the only game in town on the scale to make a difference. I stand by our approach of outlining a radical vision for global ecological sustainability, and pursuing, highlighting and even congratulating incremental progress towards the vision.
Sincerely,
Glen

Dr Barry,

Generally, governments intervention is made through price-incentive taxes (in Europe, energy price is heavily taxed hence the small cars and house, in Japan, food prices are sky high, hence the thin people...).

Kyoto has been chosen because it's a good way to grab power and money for UN bureaucrats. Suggesting that because it's the only thing done, it'd be de facto right and must be continued is the perfect recipe for yet another blunder.

Do the standard positions of developing countries on climate change possibly leave them worse off?

http://endpovertyinsouthasia.worldbank.org/some-doubts-about-developing-countries-positions-climate-change

I totally agree. best wishes Paul Knobel

Yes, Yes, Yes!

An idea: the countries with the oil underground should not give it to the ones who abuse it, should ration it out and not use it up.

Gretchen Boise