Brussels, 06 June 2002
Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced on 5 June that his country will join the USA in refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, despite signing it just seven months ago.
Mr Howard told the parliament in Canberra: 'It is not in Australia's interests to ratify. The protocol would cost us jobs and damage our industry.'
The announcement comes just a day after Japan agreed to ratify the protocol, urging nations like Russia and the USA to join them. The EU ratified the agreement en bloc on 31 May. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström urged other nations to ratify 'to prevent the severe consequences that climate change could have.'
Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal. Mr Howard claims that signing up to the Kyoto Protocol would lead to a 'flight of jobs' from the country as coal-based companies relocating to developing countries where there are fewer restrictions.
The Kyoto Protocol, first agreed in 1997, requires ratification by countries responsible for 55 per cent of industrialised counties' emissions to enter into force.