Letter to President Bush
Prime Minister Howard
Australia has for many years worked closely with the United
States on climate change issues. The relationship began during
your father's term as President.
Like you, I regard global climate change as an important matter.
I have seen your letter of 13 March 2001 to senior members of
the United States Senate in which you expressed your opposition
to the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts developing countries
from reducing greenhouse gas emissions and would be costly to
implement. I have noted your Administration's intention to review
climate change policy and domestic energy policy.
Australia remains committed to dealing effectively with climate
change. We have a substantial programme of domestic policies
in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will continue
to implement that programme. My Government signed the Kyoto Protocol
in 1998 and since then has worked with other signatories to realise
its potential as a global framework for addressing climate change.
I have long shared your view, and Australia has consistently
argued, that a workable international framework to address climate
change needs to be economically manageable and include developing
countries, whose emissions will exceed those of OECD countries
within this decade.
In my view an effective global framework to address climate
change needs to include commitments from all major emitters;
unrestricted market-based mechanisms, including emissions trading;
an approach to carbon sinks that captures both economic and environmental
opportunities; a facilitative, rather than punitive, compliance
system; and assistance for the most vulnerable countries to adapt
to climate change.
This will require that we engage developing countries, and
seek firm commitments from them on future annual emissions. We
will also need to encourage the European Union to re-think its
opposition to market mechanisms and sinks, key issues for a cost-effective
response to climate change.
I am of the view that United States' leadership is essential
if efforts to address global climate change are to be successful.
We hope the outcome of your Administration's review of its policy
will contribute to overcoming the obstacles that remain to achieving
a truly global and effective framework.
I welcome your intention to work with your friends and allies
in developing ways of addressing global climate change. Australia
and the United States have many interests in common on this issue
and my Government looks forward to working closely with your
Administration as you develop your policies, and in the context
of potential international initiatives. The Umbrella Group, of
which the United States is a key member, should continue to have
an important role in negotiations. Australia's Foreign Minister,
Alexander Downer, has briefed me on his recent meetings with
members of your Administration and members of Congress and Australia's
Environment Minister, Robert Hill, will visit Washington later
I look forward to discussing this and other issues with you
in the near future.
The Honourable George W Bush
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
For the letter from President Bush to senior US Senate
members, please click here: Bush