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The BBC's Red Harrison in Sydney
"Mr Howard says he has long shared Mr Bush's view "
 real 28k

Sunday, 15 April, 2001, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Australia gives up on Kyoto
Chimneys
A stated goal was the fight against global warming
Australia's environment minister has said that the Kyoto climate-change accord can not succeed without United States support, and suggested using it as a framework to negotiate a new treaty.

"I don't think Kyoto can last without the US," Senator Robert Hill said.


The world's got a pretty simple choice here - it's between President Bush and our grandchildren

Senator Bob Brown Australian Green party
US President George W Bush indicated last month that he would not support Kyoto for fear it would hurt the US economy.

The Australian announcement drew immediate criticism from an international gathering of Green party members in Canberra, the country's capital.

"The world's got a pretty simple choice here. It's between President Bush and our grandchildren," said Australian Senator Bob Brown, the conference host.

He said it was clear that Australian Prime Minister John Howard had "chosen President Bush".

Following US lead

But Senator Hill said Australia had always said it would not ratify the 1997 Kyoto accord before the US.

He said the Kyoto accord should become the framework for a future climate-change treaty "because the problem is not going to go away".

George W Bush
Bush: Told to reverse his decision to reject Kyoto
To have force of law, the accord must be ratified by 55 countries that produce 55% of global greenhouse emissions, which many scientists believe contribute to climate change.

The US produces 25% of the world's greenhouse emissions.

President Bush said he opposed the treaty for economic reasons and because it did not include developing countries.

In fact, the Kyoto accord commits developing countries to legally binding emissions targets. Several developing countries have ratified the accord, while no industrialised nations have done so.

Green conference

The row between Australia's Greens and government came as Green party delegates from more than 60 countries, in Australia for their first ever international conference, discussed a possible boycott of US oil companies.

Mr Brown told the BBC that President Bush's stance on the Kyoto agreement was influenced by the oil companies.

US Vice President Dick Cheney
Mr Bush and his vice-president are both oil men
He said the conference aimed to challenge the growing international influence of major corporations.

International environmental group Greenpeace is said to be leading the initiative.

It has given US oil companies 10 days to detach themselves from the Bush decision, according to European Greens Secretary-General, Arnold Cassola.

Green parties exist in more than 80 countries, and have seats in 29 national parliaments.

They are participants in coalition governments in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Slovenia and Mexico.

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See also:

15 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Greens contemplate US oil boycott
13 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Blair urged to tackle Bush over Kyoto
09 Apr 01 | Music
Sting slates Bush over Kyoto
25 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
Analysis: What next?
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US blow to Kyoto hopes
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
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