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Australia: poor international environmental citizen.

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KELVIN THOMSON Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Press Release from the Shadow Minister for Sustainability & Environment - Member for Wills


Australia’s poor international standing as a responsible environmental citizen has been exposed by the Foreign Policy and Centre for Global Development, which placed Australia 18th out of 21 rich countries when it comes to the impact of our environmental policies on poor nations.

Australia was awarded only 1.8 points on a rating from 0-9, and came in behind 17 other developed nations. Only Canada, Japan and the United States scored worse on their environmental practices.

The environment score measures each rich nation’s depletion of the shared commons (two-thirds of the score) and its contribution to international environmental initiatives (one-third). The measurements of depletion include greenhouse gas emissions per capita, use of ozone depleting substances per capita, and fishing subsidies per dollar of GDP.

International conduct is measured by the level of support for major environmental treaties and protocols, financial contribution to environmental funds, and government support for the development of clean energy technologies.

Australia’s poor ranking along with Canada and the United States arises principally due to our high per capita greenhouse gas emissions. These greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change, which will adversely affect poor nations.

Bangladesh is already regularly subjected to extreme weather events, such as storms and cyclones, which kill many poor people. Climate change increases the frequency and severity of these events. Impoverished South Pacific nations will be affected by rising sea levels.

This survey result is an embarrassment to Australia, and indicates that we need to do much more if we are to be seen as a good international environmental citizen.

We need to support international treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and the World Heritage Convention, rather than seeking to undermine or scuttle them, and we need to curb our greenhouse gas emissions and use of ozone depleting substances, which harm the planet.

For Further Information; Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594 882