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Election 2004: Minister and Shadow Minister discuss Kyoto protocol.

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Friday 1 October 2004

Election 2004: Minister and Shadow Minister discuss Kyoto protocol


DAVID HARDAKER: In Australia there's been a clear and long standing policy differe nce over whether to ratify the Kyoto protocol. 


Environment groups have endorsed the Labor party for promising it would sign up. But industry has strongly backed the Coalition for resisting pressure to ratify the protocol. 


Now Labor has seized on Russia's move, saying it leaves Australia even more isolated. 


Louise Yaxley reports. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: Russia's decision makes the political division in Australia over greenhouse gas emissions even more stark. 


Labor has already won the backing of environmental groups over its promise to sign up. Labor's environment spokesman Kelvin Thomson. 


KELVIN THOMSON: It leaves Australia and the United States isolated as the only developed countries which are not prepared to be part of the international effort to tackle climate change. It means we need to review our position, because if we do not ratify the protocol then the Australian environment, Australian farmers by way of increased droughts, and Australian business, who will be locked out of the clean development mechanism established by the protocol, will all be adversely affected. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: The Coalition is staunchly against ratifying the treaty - the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says it would cost Australian jobs. 


IAN MACFARLANE: Russia is signing up for a completely set of … completely different set of reasons. Australia will reach its Kyoto target, and it'll reach it without ratifying Kyoto, without introducing carbon taxes, without putting up the price of electricity, without costing jobs in Australia, which even by the Labor Party's own studies in Victoria could see over 10,000 jobs lost, due to ratification of Kyoto. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: As voters contemplate the two positions on climate change - the jobs issue is a powerful point. Labor's Kelvin Thomson's says moving to alternative energy sources can create jobs. 


KELVIN THOMSON: Our actions will generate jobs through the renewable energy industry. The renewable energy industry means regional jobs through co-generation projects, we'll benefit the sugar industry in Queensland, through wind farm projects, through solar projects, through a range of renewable energy projects - there will be jobs in regional Australia as a result of our policies. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: While Labor has run some plaudits for promising to sign up to Kyoto, Mr Macfarlane says the Coalition's critics should look at what's being delivered. 


IAN MACFARLANE: Australia has taken a practical approach which will see Australia as one of the only three or four countries in the world that will achieve its greenhouse gas targets. We are actually doing the practical things to ensure greenhouse gas reduction, not signing a diplomatic piece of paper which still sees the signatories exceeding the greenhouse gas emissions. 


DAVID HARDAKER: Coalition Energy Minister, Ian Macfarlane, ending Louise Yaxley's report.