Horsemen of the apocalypse sabotage Kyoto
by Marcus Browning The absolute hypocrisy of John Howard and his Canberra crew was never more evident than this week's announcement by the Prime Minister of a sudden conversion to clean and green. His tottering edifice of corporate toadies, which passes itself off as a government, will be trying to capture some votes in the coming elections by allocating funds to specially targeted environmental projects. This act of opportunism came hot on the heels of the Government aiding and abetting the US to again scuttle the Kyoto Protocol, this time in Bonn. The Government intends using the $1 billion it allocated to its National Heritage Trust in the last budget to fund community projects, no doubt in electorally endangered areas around the country. But in Bonn Australia joined Canada and Japan to back the US against the wishes of the 186 countries at the meeting in its refusal to ratify even the weakened protocol. The Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2 per cent was halved through the connivance and manipulation of these four horsemen of the apocalypse. The Howard Government openly states that as far as it's concerned the protocol's ratification depends on getting the nod from the US. Part of the plan is to shift the major responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the main culprits, the industrialised Western countries, onto the underdeveloped nations. "We want to be part of workable, comprehensive arrangements that incorporates the developing countries as well as the developed countries", said Howard, "and obviously the involvement of the United States is very important. We understand many of the concerns of the United States." For "concerns" read the profits of the fossil fuel producing and consuming industries. The US is the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, and has two oil billionaires, George Bush and Dick Cheney, as its President and Vice-President. As a reward for its sabotaging efforts Australia is now the only country which can officially include reductions in land clearing in its calculations, thus meeting its reduced greenhouse target without having to cut fossil fuel emissions. Greens Senator Bob Brown said that the outcome has been to reduce the rich world's requirement to lessen atmospheric pollution, noting that the Australian representatives also helped extract the teeth — the penalties for non-compliance — from the agreement. "I predict the Bush Administration, bypassed by Europe in Bonn, will pressure Mr Howard to block the penalties regime for the Protocol when it comes back for discussion in Marrakech in October", said Senator Brown.