Last year, my daughter wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking why Australia hadn’t signed the Kyoto Protocol? Here is the letter and here is an outline of the response from the PM. Specifically, he said to her that Australia was not signing it because so many others were not bound by it and so it would be too costly.
The PM’s taskforce on emissions trading and lots of statements in recent weeks suggest that it is a goal of the government to comply with the Kyoto limits. From the taskforce issues paper (p.2):
The Australian Government’s immediate policy objective is to achieve its Kyoto Protocol target of limiting emissions to 108% of 1990 levels in the period 2008‑12.
Hang on a minute! This is now their objective rather than, say, a hope. I thought the reason for not signing Kyoto is that the targets were (a) too costly and (b) a drop in the ocean anyway since it does not bind enough of the world. But if the government is happy with the targets, why not just sign Kyoto? The question is a little rhetorical as I suspect we all know the answer. And I certainly don’t object to the objective.
On the positive side, I must say that it is great to pick up the paper and hear a new idea or angle from a Minister for the Environment rather than a headline reporting something that was merely new to them. The last few weeks have been refreshing in that sense.