Kyoto around the traps


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Kevin Rudd’s first move as Prime Minister was to ratify Kyoto. It’s ten years late, but we’re there. Here’s a roundup of reactions in the blogworld so far.


It was a bit churlish of Australia really, to push in the negotiations so we got very generous terms for a developed country, and then not take them up anway. So no one really doubted our ability to meet Kyoto targets. But it was symbolic. To the Howard government, it was a chance to show that they put economic growth at a higher priority than the environment, it was a chance to show significant support for the Bush regime (the US being the other nation notable for signing but not ratifying) in the US, and it was a key issue for the several conservative backers of the Liberal party (notably Hugh Morgan of Western Mining, and the conservative think tanks funded by him and others like the Institute for Public Affairs and the Lavoisier group).


But even though Kyoto is largely symbolic now, symbolism and positioning is what drives a lot of diplomacy and negotiation, and diplomacy and negotiation is what builds future international agreements. Ratifying the protocol is mostly about making it very clear that we have changed sides in the international debate, and are no longer an ally of the US in its efforts to avoid the issue.

Ken L at Surfdom:

The symbolism was significant, but not because of its connection to global warming. No, by signing up to Kyoto as one of his first acts, Kevin Rudd has signalled Australia’s intention to rejoin the community of nations.

The importance of this is hard to over-estimate. For the last six or seven years, Howard and his deluded cronies took us to a very dark and dangerous place: a cartoon world where the Project for a New American Century was bathed in the glow of righteousness and Teh Enemy was cackling and gibbering in the shadows … and Howard, totally out of his depth and longing for the certainties of the Menzies era, succumbed like the most innocent virgin to the flattery of the nonentity in the White House and his lunatic offsider.


By signing Kyoto, Labor has made it clear that Australia will once again come to international affairs in a spirit of co-operation, with an integrative problem-solving attitude instead of an attitude of triumphant exceptionalism.


Pope Kevin the First has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Yeah, it’s only a political gesture, but unless you’re deeply in denial or suffering from the delusion that science is only science if nobody seems suspiciously enthusiastic about it, it’s still better than nothing. I knew having Peter Garrett as the Minister for Rock ‘N Roll would mean something!

Some random dude on democracticunderground:

The Cheese stands alone.

Categories: culture wars, environment, Politics


4 replies

  1. Next step, an official SORRY to the Stolen Generations.
    Howard understood the power of symbology very well indeed, and that’s exactly why he refused to do these things. We mightn’t appreciate what difference this will make for a while yet, but it will make a difference.

  2. Well, one election promise not broken. Doing well so far.

  3. Mmm… blue cheese. 🙂
    I agree with everyone who has talked about the importance of the symbolism of Kyoto– but now that that’s done, I’m eager to see what practical steps that Rudd takes. I was heartened this morning to hear Rudd talking about the fact that climate change necessarily means increases in the cost of fuel and electricity as we make the switch to renewable energy– although he didn’t say it in as many words, this essentially means that the economy will have to slow down. The trick is, can Rudd help to create the cultural shift that will be necessary for the Australian people to accept a slower economy?

  4. Here is Guardian opinion piece along the lines of my previous comment.

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