Australia

Australia

Increasing isolation on policy against C02 targets

Australia's bid to win for itself a "differentiation model" under the next round of global climate change negotiations -- slated for Kyoto in Japan this December -- has suffered two set backs. Both the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto have indicated they will not support the model, isolating still further the Australian government's position. Kohl was quoted in The Age newspaper as saying he would try to avoid placing Australia "in the dock" over the issue, but said that there was a problem. The possibility that Australia could now withdraw from the Kyoto meeting is not ruled out by prime minister John Howard. He has merely said he "wouldn't speculate on what Australia might do if those [differentiation] approaches are unsuccessful." Australian officials have raised the possibility of withdrawing from the Kyoto convention if the UN meeting imposes unacceptable targets. Howard defends Australia's "unique position" as a net exporter of energy and says that without a differentiation model alowing individual targets "AustraliaƉwill be seriously disadvantaged by what we perceive to be the possible outcome of the attitude of both the United States and the European Union." The Australian position has also been heavily criticised by organisations within the country. In New South Wales (NSW), the state government is promoting green polices, with new industries investing a billion dollars, creating a thousand new jobs and a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. NSW energy minister Michael Egan rejects the federal position, saying NSW has shown it could meet targets and create jobs.

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