SAMOA: HOWARD STANCE ON CLIMATE COST ELECTION

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APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 2) – Concern about climate change contributed to the demise of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoli’ai Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said.

Australia and the United States stood out as countries who refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. This is document backed by the United Nations which seeks to limit carbon pollution, blamed for negative climate changes occurring.

But Tuilaepa said Mr Howard may not have signed the Kyoto Protocol but like the countries who did followed its conditions.

"That was the only difference," he said.

Australia and the United States was of the view that it was useless for their gas emissions to be limited when many developing countries could produce unlimited quantities.

"Especially China and India who are producing large quantities of gas," Tuilaepa said.

"So even though Australia did not agree to sign the protocol, they tried to follow the conditions of the protocol.

"That is an issue we understood.

"It was a matter of mutual respect between America and Australia."

There were also the economic considerations, Tuilaepa said. Many of the businesses which emit gas provided jobs.

But because of events in Australia - fires and cracked soil, no rain - climate change was an election issue.

The United States experienced many cyclones.

Now the protection of the earth has become the "property" of election candidates in the US, Tuilaepa said.

"That is the position the world is in."

Tuilaepa said the economy of Australia performed outstandingly under the Howard government.

Mr Howards government helped Samoa and the Pacific in many development areas he said.

But people wanted a change; "small issues" like climate change caused his downfall, he said.

Meanwhile Clive Hamilton, founder of the public policy think-tank Australia Institute, said the country’s emissions were heading above the Kyoto Protocol target of 108 percent of 1990 levels by 2012.

"Our emissions are growing at about 1.5 to 2.0 percent a year -- you can see that between now and 2012 it’s going to reach 130 percent," he told AFP.

"It does mean that the (new) Rudd government is going to have to introduce some policies that do bite into that because the Howard government has not taken measures to restrict growth in emissions."

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

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