Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Well I failed, but Rudd government doing okay...

Kevin Rudd First an update on Buy Nothing Day the Saturday before last... I failed miserably to buy nothing on Buy Nothing Day. Not only was it a Saturday but a day when the Howard government was chucked out after 11 years, meaning a celebration was absolutely in order!

First I bought a sausage on bread at the polling booth where I volunteered because I was hungry. Second I bought some hommus to take to the party. Third we bought some wine on the way to the party. Then I almost but not quite sold my soul to the Greens.

On the topic of greening, I want to publicly commend Rudd for already ratifying the Kyoto Protocol to a standing ovation. (Well effectively ratified. Apparently the UN takes around 90 working days to make it official... wow what a bureaucracy!)
Australia received huge applause at a UN conference on climate change in Bali after it was announced Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had begun to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Rudd says signing the instrument of ratification means Australia will be a full member of the Kyoto Protocol before March next year.

This means Australia's greenhouse gas emissions should not be higher than 8 per cent above 1990 levels.

Some delegates of the 12-day conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also gave a standing ovation over the signing. (source)
I don't care much for the grumblings that all this is yet to be properly costed and that it might have a deleterious effect on the economy. This is a win for public consciousness; a measurable shift in the zeitgeist. I look forward to the newly-raised awareness people will start to have, given Australia's sudden and decisive ratification of Kyoto. Now, there is no silly defence of "Well I'm sure if it was a serious problem John Howard would be doing something about it". Those people, happy to trust in their almighty leader, have just been told in no uncertain terms that human-caused climate change is a problem.

Not only did Rudd deliver on this Kyoto promise sooner than expected, but I notice he has set up a series of public accountability mechanisms that show potential to both encourage productivity and discourage unfulfilled promises from the new government. See first his 5 key aims (via Gam) and second Crikey's assessment:
Kevin Rudd has indicated that he's going to be big on report cards during his term. Report cards for his ministers, a report card for himself... (source)
I shouldn't be surprised. This is just basic good, responsible management, but it's such a shock to the system after 11 years!

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Blogger chervil said...

Hi Lisa

I totally agree with your assessment of the first week of the new Rudd government. I was so excited when I heard the news about him ratifying the Kyoto protocol as soon as he was officially sworn in as Prime Minister. I am also very pleased with his choice for the Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, who seems a very capable person.

The new government will have a huge task at hand, though, changing the direction of our economy towards a more carbon friendly future. And I very much doubt that this can be done on the cheap after we lost more than a decade to inaction under Howard.

December 09, 2007 9:10 am  
Blogger Andy said...

Problems with Kyoto:
1. Its expensive
2. There is no requirement for R&D
3. If fully achieved it will hold off climate change for 3 weeks in 2100.

(data from the book "Cool It")

Good things about Kyoto
1. Its a symbol of where we are going.

In my humble but correct opinion, the govt (whomever they are) need to put lot of money in R&D.

Only when alternative energy is cheaper than coal energy will the big nations, India, China nad the US, take it up.

At that point the climate change worries will be sussed, and we can start worrying about the next thing.

December 13, 2007 11:54 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

At a very pragmatic level I can see your every one of your points, but there are some points missing.

In particular #3 doesn't mention that Kyoto still has massive value in consciousness-raising and habit-changing. You can say it's an expensive kind of thing to "raise consciousness" and "change habits" perhaps, especially when you can't measure the success of those easily...

...but at least now the skeptics are not supported by the govt line anymmore and basically have to stick the reality of human-caused climate change in their rhetorical pipes and smoke it. That is invaluable I think.

December 13, 2007 12:06 pm  

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