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Australia Signs Up To Kyoto

Having been in power for less than a fortnight, Australia’s new prime minister today ratified the Kyoto Agreement.

Kevin Rudd’s signature made Australia the 37th industrial nation to agree to binding greenhouse gas reduction targets. However, the Labor Party leader admitted his country may not quite meet the 2008-12 target of cutting down emissions to 8% above 1990 levels. Speaking to ABC Radio, Mr Rudd said, “We are currently likely to… overshoot our Kyoto target by 1%.”

Mr Rudd is set to attend the UN hosted climate change talks in Bali next week, where a new global deal to replace Kyoto post 2012 will be high on the agenda.

Although the 50-year old is expected to receive a warm welcome at the talks he is not anticipating an easy ride, “It’ll take a lot of time, and a lot of horse trading, a lot of negotiation and it’s going to be a tough process,” he told Australian television.

Mr Rudd’s predecessor, John Howard, signed up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 but never made the agreement’s target law, even after seeing that Australia was afforded considerable concessions to ensure its participation.

Australia’s acceptance of the deal now leaves the US as the only remaining developed nation to oppose the agreement.

Mr Rudd enlisted the talents of former Midnight Oil front-man, David Garett, who was named last week as Australia's new Environment Minister. Whether the PM muttered, “How can we dance when our earth is turning, How do we sleep when our beds are burning,” when he approached the singer about the post remains unconfirmed at time of going to press.

Keep an eye on www.icount.org.uk over the next two weeks for all the latest news from Bali.


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published: 23:35 - 3 December 2007