Greenhouse gas emissions report 'alarming'
Bishop Christopher Toohey and delegates at the Catholic Earthcare climate change conference in Canberra at the weekend said they are appalled by a United Nations report that has shown a significant increase in Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
The ABC reports that the UN report shows Australia's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 23.3% between 1990 and 2003. Bishop Toohey, who chairs Catholic Earthcare Australia, said that the UN's findings are alarming.
"The fact that we're putting more carbon up there than the atmosphere can absorb is very much on our minds here," he said.
But Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says the UN report only tells part of the story.
"It's basically adding up all of the increases in the emissions but it isn't taking into account any of the measures we're doing to reduce emissions, so it's only part of the equation," he said.
Catholic Earthcare CEO Colin Brown, who organised the conference, said the figures revealed a decade of lost opportunity.
"The Federal Government has been missing in action in what is without doubt the largest crisis humans will face in the coming decades. Its failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol is deplorable," he said in a statement reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
Theologian Fr Dennis Edwards, an adviser to Catholic Earthcare Australia, said it is almost too late.
"But we must try harder and learn to adapt to the changing situation. Most importantly we need to care for the victims."
Those victims, said Fr Michael McKenzie of the Pacific island of Kiribati, would be the residents of low lying nations.
"When our people have to start swimming towards the eastern seaboard, will Australians and their governments be disposed to help us?" he asked at the conference.
The UN report reveals Australia is far from the worst offender with a number of nations which have ratified the Kyoto protocol recording greater increases in greenhouse emissions.
Spain topped the list with a 41.7% increase, followed by Monaco (37.8), Portugal (36.7) and Greece (25.9).
The United States, which also has not ratified Kyoto, reported increased emissions of 13.3%, while New Zealand, a Kyoto signatory, performed only slightly better than Australia with a 22.5% increase.
Greenhouse gas emissions report 'alarming' (ABC Canberra 19/11/05)
Alarm over sharp rise in emissions (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 19/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Earthcare Australia
Bishop Christopher Toohey: Climate Change: Our Responsibility to Sustain God's Earth (Catholic Earthcare Australia 18/11/05)
Catholic Earthcare highlights Vatican climate change intervention (CathNews 10/11/05)
TV weatherman to present at Catholic Earthcare Conference (CathNews 28/10/05)
Catholic Earthcare declares position on uranium (CathNews 18/10/05)
Moral obligation to ratify Kyoto: bishops (Sydney Morning Herald 19/11/05)
21 Nov 2005