New Australian Prime Minister Flip-flops on Climate Change Pledge

December 6th, 2007 3:14 PM

NewsBusters readers are well aware of how American media gleefully reported Kevin Rudd's November 24 victory over Australian Prime Minister John Howard as a huge defeat for President Bush.

Stateside press representatives have also been enamored with Rudd's views concerning global warming, and his proposed deep cuts to Australia's carbon dioxide emissions.

In a truly stunning twist of fate, according to Friday's Herald Sun, Rudd, armed with new information from the electricity industry, has done a very serious greenhouse gas u-turn that will likely be met with silence from America's green press (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd last night did an about-face on deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, days after Australia's delegation backed the plan at the climate talks in Bali.

A government representative at the talks this week said Australia backed a 25-40 per cent cut on 1990 emission levels by 2020.

But after warnings it would lead to huge rises in electricity prices, Mr Rudd said the Government would not support the target.

Think our press will report this tonight when they cover the goings-on in Bali? Or this:

The repudiation of the delegate's position represents the first stumble by the new Government's in its approach to climate change.

Mr Rudd said he supported a longer-term greenhouse emissions cut of 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050.

But the Government would not set medium-term targets until a report by economist Ross Garnaut was completed next year.

"I think speculation on individual numbers prior to that is not productive and I would suggest it would be better for all concerned if we waited for the outcome of that properly-deliberated document," Mr Rudd said.

The electricity industry yesterday warned it may not be able to meet growing consumer demand and comply with the 2020 target.

Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Brad Page said a 17 per cent power price rise in Victoria would seem "pretty modest" compared with the cost of complying with the target.

An ESAA report released this year found cutting carbon emissions by 30 per cent of 2000 levels by 2030 wold [sic] push up power costs by 30 per cent.

Mr Page said the cost of meeting the higher target by 2020 would be much more as low-cost, green-generation technology would not be available for more than 10 years.

Readers are advised that this is a very serious turn of events as representatives from around the world are meeting in Bali to discuss so-called solutions to global warming. The expectation after Rudd unseated Howard last month was that Australia would suddenly be a strong advocate for carbon dioxide emissions caps that would pressure the United States to do the same.

However, with Rudd doing this surprising about face, it appears unlikely that anything definitive will come from this highly-anticipated conference. Furthermore, Rudd's change of course could be another sign that Kyoto is indeed going the way of the dodo

Any wagers on whether this momentous climate change flip-flop gets reported here?

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