NAIROBI, KENYA, November 14, 2006 — By insisting that the ‘Convention Dialogue’ it chairs should replace the climate change agreement know as the Kyoto Protocol, the Australian government is offending the 165 nations that ratified the United Nations agreement and have gathered here to start negotiations for the Protocol’s continuation after 2012. [1]

“Promoting the ‘Dialogue’ over all other forums at the Nairobi climate talks is a clear attempt to detract attention from the real negotiations on the post 2012 period. Australia’s proposal to restart climate negotiations would set the fight against climate change back 15 years,” said Friends of the Earth Australia Climate campaigner Stephanie Long.

“Australia is also spoiling the United Nations Nairobi talks through misleading claims that the Protocol is a failure and not going to deliver results for the environment or the economy. But contrary to the Australian government’s claims, the international community sees the Kyoto Protocol as the main instrument to fight climate change and is working to building the agreement for emissions reductions after 2012, its second commitment period,” she added.

“Australia’s proposal simply means restarting climate negotiations from scratch. This is an untenable position, economically and environmentally, and would gravely affect those who suffer the brunt of climate change in Africa and throughout the rest of the planet,” said Erasmus Aborley from Friends of the Earth Ghana.

“Australia and other countries would like poor developing countries to show a committment to reductions of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, but the industrialised countries that created the problem must show the way and commit themselves rapidly to binding targets first,” he added.

Statements this week from Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell imply that Australia will use its position as chair of the “Convention Dialogue” sessions of the Nairobi meeting to further obstruct negotiations for the Protocol’s continuation after 2012.

Australia also continues to espouse the virtues of the ‘Asia Pacific Partnership’, an initiative based only on voluntary emission targets which is friendly to polluters but plainly insufficient to save the planet from dangerous climate change.

These policies mark a stark contrast with recent warnings about climate change, such as those in the recent ‘Stern report'[2] that identify Australia as the most vulnerable developed nation to climate change.

“The Stern report clearly assessed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is cheaper than absorbing the costs of the impacts of climate change.” Said Stephanie Long. “Considering that the government has already spent over $1 billion in drought relief for farmers this year, these costs should be front and centre of the Australian governments motivation to ratify Kyoto and çontribute instead of harming negotiations for the Protocol’s continuation.”


Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth Australia, +254 (0)720827577 (Kenya mobile until Nov.17 only)
Erasmus Aborley from Friends of the Earth Ghana, +254 (0)720827588 (Kenya mobile until Nov.17 only)


[1] Australia is co-chairing the “Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention” (the ‘Dialogue’) which is a two year process that began in 2005 at UN Climate talks in Montreal, Canada. The Dialogue is simply a forum to raise issues and discuss ideas that explicitly will not result in any binding agreements on climate change actions.

[2] The recent and ground-breaking UK Stern report is available at