[Marxism] Re: The Most Important Article of 2004: Global Warming, The World Is Skating On Thin Ice

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Fri Dec 31 19:44:08 MST 2004

>>The US and Australian governments have refused to ratify the 1997
Kyoto Protocol’s modest  goal of a reduction in greenhouse gases to 5.2%
below 1990 levels.<<

This is true, but it would have been interesting if Green Left had
discussed why the Australian Government refuses to do it. We tend to
repeat the fact and attribute it to the Prime Minister being a right
wing jerk doing the bidding of greedy corporations, which is also true
-- but there must be more to it than that. Because the Australian
Government is going to MEET the targets that Kyoto would require,
despite not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The Labor Party points this
out, and says: if you're going to meet the targets anyway, why not sign
up so you can be part of the carbon trading regime which will be

Meeting the first-round targets is easy; Australia is doing it without
reducing actual emissions at all. It will just restrict land clearing,
which is an allowable way to meet the first round targets. Plants absorb
CO2, so keeping plants alive is as good as cutting emissions. Well, sort
of -- there are issues with whether the plants cut get down later and
burnt, thereby creating emissions, and the farmers complain that they
are bearing all the Kyoto burdens and industry gets off scot free.

Anyway, my surmise is that Howard doesn't want to sign up to Kyoto for
two reasons:

1. It might lock him into an on-going process where the targets
eventually get much tougher; and he doesn't want to lose his room to
manoeuvre just yet.

2. As long as the US stays out of Kyoto, it's basically a dead duck. The
carbon trading regime won't be very significant. So why not line up with
the Americans, get some brownie points in Washington, and this will give
Howard the best possible starting point for negotiating Australia's
position within a subsequent energy/greenhouse order within which the
Americans will set the terms. Meanwhile, meeting the Kyoto first round
targets provides a sop to take the edge off green campaigns.

Any other thoughts?

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