The Kyoto Protocol Essay Research Paper While — страница 2

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government from the very beginning. Australia was one of only two nations that successfully negotiated an increase in their GGE?s. They were allowed to increase their emissions by 8% on 1990 levels by 2012. Prime Minister John Howard described this political victory as a ?terrific result? for Australia. However, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) have recently released a sobering statistic. If Australia fails to take any counteracting measures between now and 2012, ABARE says their GGE increase will actually be 35% – way above the negotiated target. Exactly how John Howard planned to achieve this ?terrific result? is still not clear. Australia relies very heavily on fossil fuels and is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases per head of

population. With 76% of their energy production being sourced from coal and oil, the task of reducing GGE?s will be a very difficult one. Perhaps the task is so difficult, it was never seriously on the agenda. However, Australia?s reluctance to recognise the importance of global warming is quite puzzling. Australia?s delicate ecological balance is particularly vulnerable, more so than other nation in the world. Much of their landmass is semi-arid and subject to drought, extremes of temperature and sensitive to El Nino cycles. Add to that soil salinity problems and temperatures that are already higher than optimum for agriculture in many regions. Australia?s economy is also dependent on $31 billion in annual agricultural exports. Tourism in the Great Barrier Reef alone is worth $1

billion each year. Surely then, if any country has a strong national interest in avoiding climate change, it must be Australia. Disintegration of the Kyoto Protocol will also deliver another economic blow to Australia. Emissions Trading between nations is likely to cease without US involvement in the treaty. Under the Kyoto accord, a country can gain carbon credits by planting forests, then sell these credits to nations that overextend on their negotiated GGE levels. Australian State Forests were very keen to take advantage of the Emissions Trading system, and it was seen as a new multi-billion dollar a year industry. As an example, this year NSW State Forests won a contract for carbon credits with Japanese electrical company TEPCO worth $120 million. However, the viability of

Emissions Trading is now in severe doubt without the support of the US. Economic considerations aside, the lurking dangers of global warming are rising sea levels, due to the melting of the polar ice caps. Consider a nation like the Maldives, a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean. The average height of land in the Maldives is only a few metres above sea level. If the issue of greenhouse gas emissions is not immediately addressed, the Maldives, in the not too distant future, will be completely under water. Climate change is a global concern and we can see that Australia?s reluctance to seriously participate in the Kyoto Protocol will have adverse repercussions for the entire Asia-Pacific region, not just Australia. It is also clear that, in this instance, Australia is all

too willing to dance to America?s tune. It is the responsibility of the world?s two most notorious polluters to take the lead role in reducing GGE?s, not to turn their backs to the problem. Table A The individual commitments for each Annex 1 (developed) nation: