Australian participation in Kyoto 2 can build momentum for a global agreement

The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to participate in the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period.

“Australia’s involvement in a second Kyoto period is important because it can help build momentum towards an international agreement to tackle climate change,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Don Henry.

“Australia was the last country to ratify the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol; this time we could be the first.

“The Kyoto Protocol is an essential stepping stone towards a global agreement.

“Kyoto 2 will set minimum levels of action for countries; Australia’s final 2020 target will be set in 2014 after advice from the independent Climate Change Authority.

“Australia’s Kyoto target should be at least equivalent to previous international commitments made by the Federal Government.

“It’s significant that the Government has retained Australia’s existing policy to cut emissions by 5–25 per cent – a policy that has bi-partisan support – giving the Climate Change Authority the ability to recommend a stronger domestic target.”

The best available climate science suggests that to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Australia should be looking to cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its Fifth Assessment Report on climate science and progress towards a global treaty in 2014-15.

The United Nations’ annual climate change negotiations start in Doha, Qatar, on 26 November.  Don Henry will represent ACF’s supporters at Doha.