Australia sinking climate change efforts

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Australia sinking climate change efforts

BY JIM GREEN

Australia's aggressive promotion of carbon sinks may undermine global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas levels.

Greenpeace International's climate policy director, Bill Hare, warned on April 13 that the promotion of carbon sinks (such as tree planting schemes) as a solution to climate change is false logic and that any such efforts will undermine the goals of the Kyoto Protocol.

"The Australian government is doing everything in its power to widen loopholes in the Kyoto Protocol in order to avoid tackling the real issue — reducing emissions of greenhouse gases", Hare said.

"The truth is that carbon sinks are at best a temporary way to capture small amounts of carbon dioxide. They threaten to undermine genuine efforts to stop dangerous climate change. While Australia claims a leading edge position on climate protection strategies, the reality is that the government's logic is desperately short-sighted and dangerously naive", he said.

On the eve of an international ministerial forum on carbon sinks in Perth from April 17-21, the Australian government has been recruiting support for its sinks policy from Melanesian nations.

Despite being one of only two countries permitted to increase its carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, the Australian government is unwilling to curb the major source of the problem — fossil fuel use — and is relying on sinks to meet its Kyoto target.