Australia signs Kyoto agreement

6 December 2007

The new Australian prime minister, the Labor Party’s Kevin Rudd, has ratified the Kyoto protocol on capping greenhouse gas emissions.

Rudd’s landslide victory followed a campaign strongly centred on green policies.

Rudd opposed nuclear power during his campaign, differing from former prime minister John Howard’s pronuclear position. Howard was also in favour of expanding uranium mining and export.

The Kyoto sign-up isolates the USA, which has not agreed to the protocol.

Rudd has stated that Labor is committed to coal and will invest in new 'clean' coal technologies.

Previously, at the Labor Party’s annual convention in April, it was agreed that the policy ban on new uranium mines would be lifted. However, a proviso was that buyers must be from countries that have signed the Non Proliferation Treaty.

At that time, Rudd said it would be up to individual states and the Northern Territory whether they wanted to grant new mining licences.

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