Compliance will ‘beggar’ economy

AUSTRALIAN compliance with the Kyoto Protocol in its present form will beggar WA’s economy, according to a report by the Allen Consulting Group.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The ACG’s report Meeting the Kyoto Target: Impact on Regional Australia found WA’s gross State product would fall $2.1 billion or 3.3 per cent and more than 32,000 people would lose their jobs.

Employment in the South West was tipped to drop more than 12 per cent.

Compliance will reduce Australia’s GDP by 1.9 per cent or $11 billion at current prices.

Under the protocol, Australia agreed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 levels.

However, Australia’s green-house emissions are about 40 per cent above 1990 levels so energy consumption will have to fall.

Most developed nations agreed to cut emissions to 92 per cent of 1990 levels.

The CSIRO has acknowledged the protocol will have no significant impact on global warming.

International acceptance of the protocol will create a flow of wealth to undeveloped nations and much of the world’s manu-facturing could become based there.

WA will suffer because its major exports are from mining primary industry sources which contribute to greenhouse gas.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Ian Satchwell said by exporting products such as direct-reduced iron and alumina that were processed using gas, WA was helping reduce global emissions.

“Introducing greenhouse measures that raise the costs of producing resources in Australia would simply hand a competitive advantage to overseas operations,” Mr Satchwell said.

“Instead, Australia should continue its economy-wide efforts to abate emissions in ways that do not harm competitiveness.

“It is imperative for Australia that less developed nations adopt emission reduction targets, that developed countries transfer more efficient technology to their less developed counterparts and that Australia participates in international programs to develop new fuel technologies.”

International ratification of the protocol rests with the US, which seems unlikely to accept it. The Australian Government will only sign if the US does.

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