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Thursday, 1 April 2004
Page: 22671

Senator BROWN (5:10 PM) —I rise to speak on the Kyoto Protocol Ratification Bill 2003 [No. 2]. The former head of the Bureau of Meteorology in Britain has recently stated that global warming is a greater threat to the planet than global terrorism. We must take it seriously, and this government must take it seriously. This begins with the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. One thing that has been established through the short hearings of the Senate inquiry into this bill is that there is no alternative. Those businesses that are opposed to this treaty all say that global warming has to be tackled. None of them has an alternative international process which can lead to the objective of turning the world around from its prodigious use of fossil fuels and production of global warming gases, which is now headed for mammoth increases in the coming decades, not just in the developing countries but also in the developed and rich countries.

The Australian government has said and Prime Minister Howard himself has said that the target of the Kyoto protocol of restricting Australian emissions to an increase of eight per cent over the 1990 levels by the years 2010 to 2012 is what the government is going to achieve. Then why not sign the protocol? It is a compelling argument. To do the reverse is not only to let down this nation and the coming generations of this nation but to let down the planet—everyone's grandchildren.