Social Action Office
Eco-justice Archive

Click here for information on the International Year of FreshWater

Climate Change Campaign

To become informed about climate change issues, click here for a Briefing Note on Climate Change Negotiations.

Click here for the case for Australia staying with the Kyoto process.

To access Church teaching on the environment, click here.

To stay up to date on the science and changing politics of climate change, click here for specific climate change links.

To take ten easy steps to cool global warming, at home and at work, click here.

To limit the impact of your car's greenhouse gas emissions, click here.

Faith and the need for ecological conversion

Click here for the article Climate Change Negotiations - A Perspective of Faith, written by Coralie Kingston, (Former) Coordinator of the Social Action Office, for The Catholic Leader, 10 June 2001 issue.

Kyoto Protocol

What's Happening Now?

12 June 2002

1. The Prime Minister, John Howard, has finally now stated his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. He has capitulated to the mining industry and other carbon-based industries and interest groups. Click here for a report of the PM's position, and click here for the Leader of the Opposition's response to Kyoto (July 2001).

Instead of trying to make the Kyoto Protocol work - after ten years of negotiation - Australia has followed the USA in putting 'national interests' before the future of the Earth community.

2. The Social Action Office has prepared a Fact Sheet on Climate Change and an Action Sheet for lobbying.

Click here for the Climate Change Fact Sheet.
Click here for the Action Sheet.

WE MUST KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. It is vital that the Australian Government ratifies the Kyoto Protocol in the lead-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg in late August-early September 2002.

Please join with others in lobbying for this.

3. Many nations have ratified the Kyoto Protocol - most recently, Japan. Click here to access the list of nations who have met their international obligations and ratified the Protocol. (Under the Kyoto Protocol heading on the right hand side, click on Kyoto Protocol Status of Ratification.)

4. On 29 November 2001 Archbishop Renato Martino, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations, delivered an address regarding the protection of the environment. The address particularly focussed on global warming. Click here to access this address.

5. The Social Action Office has a copy of Rising Waters: Global Warming and the fate of the Pacific Islands. It is available for borrowing. Just email SAO.

This video shows that global warming is not just something that looms in the distant horizon. The threat to low-lying Pacific islands has already begun. Solidarity calls for a response from the developed nations whose profligate use of fossil fuels is the cause of this environmental catastrophe. The video highlights a major climate justice issue. An excellent resource.

6. Earlier this year Australia announced an agreement with the USA to establish a Climate Change Partnership. This followed meetings between Dr David Kemp, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, and senior members of the Bush Administration including the EPA Administrator, Christine Todd Whitman.

The idea is to focus on practical approaches toward dealing with climate change. If this agreement was entered into against a background of a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, this could be seen as a positive. However, the USA has withdrawn completely from the Kyoto process and the Australian Government has also refused to ratify the agreement.

The Friends of the Earth (FOE) have prepared a response to this new development. It is worth reading and, on this basis, taking action. Click here for the FOE response. This includes some excellent links.

7. George W Bush has come up with his own plan for climate change. Given his close political relationship with the fossil fuel energy lobby in the USA it is difficult not to be sceptical. Click here for a US response to the President’s plans by the World Resources Institute.

8. The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is this country’s most august scientific body – hardly prone to exaggeration and hysteria. Recently, the NAS warned that “it is possible that the global warming trend projected over the course of the next 100 years could, without warning, dramatically accelerate in just a handful of years – forcing a qualitative new climatic regime which could undermine ecosystems and human settlements throughout the world, leaving little or no time for plants, animals and humans to adjust. The new climate could result in a wholesale change in the Earth’s environment, with effects that would be felt for thousands of years.” (from a Guardian Weekly (GW) report by Jeremy Rifkin, March 7-13, 2002 – page 11)

This GW account of a recent NAS report is available from the SAO.

Global warming
is the dark side of the commercial ledger
for the industrial age!

Jeremy Rifkin

9. In late October-early November 2001 in Marrakesh, Morocco, world environment and energy ministers reached agreement on the rulebook to govern the Kyoto Protocol to limit global warming. This is a positive outcome for the Earth Community after many years of negotiations. The protocol still has its enemies and the process of ratification is not guaranteed. The Kyoto Protocol will only come into legal force when it is ratified by the governments of at least 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of 1990 CO2 emissions. The withdrawal of the USA makes this difficult as that nation is the biggest greenhouse polluter. However, the protocol can survive if countries like Japan and Russia ratify and make up the numbers. It is an essential first step. Many nations have agreed to ratify without the USA.

Australia is yet to finally declare its final position. The place of developing countries is being used as an excuse not to ratify. Click here for a summary of the position on developing nations.

So far, it looks as if Australia is well and truly allied with the USA. This is not good enough and we must continue to urge the Australian Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

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