Resistance launches petition on greenhouse


By Sarah Peart

In response to the decision of the Howard government to reject binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the socialist youth organisation Resistance has launched a petition which condemns the government's approach and calls for a binding 20% cut in emission levels by 2005.

While the disastrous effects of fossil fuels on the environment worldwide are well known, the Howard government continues to argue that cuts in emission levels would be against Australia's "national interest" and that different countries should have the right to "make their own decisions".

This is simply a way of justifying developed countries' doing nothing and safeguarding the profits of polluting industries.

Resistance believes that environmental destruction needs to be tackled immediately. Significant, specific and binding reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and a greater use of renewable energy are essential to this.

The target of a 20% cut by 2005, which is the explicit demand in the petition, is the largest of the cuts currently being proposed to the Kyoto conference on climate change, being put forward by the Association of Small Island States.

Resistance's petition will be sent to the federal government before the Kyoto conference and will be used to campaign on the streets to collect signatures. The text of the petition reads:

"For binding greenhouse targets! — 20% cut in emissions by 2005. We, the undersigned, condemn the federal government's refusal to adopt binding greenhouse gas reduction targets. Howard claims that reducing greenhouse gases would jeopardise 'Australian jobs' and the 'national interest'.

"This argument is not only racist, since the effects on the environment disproportionately affect those in the Third World. It is also absurd, because Howard has already slashed thousands of jobs from the public sector. A commitment to greater use of renewable energy would create more jobs.

"We demand that the Australian government agree to a binding 20% cut to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2005 at the December UN climate conference in Kyoto."

A copy of this petition is available on the World Wide Web. They can also be collected from your local Resistance branch, or ask any Green Left seller.