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Prior to Kyoto Australian politicians travelled the world looking for allies for its renegade position on global warming. Whilst it has found few governmental allies it has found support amongst US industry interests and US senators. In July 1997 the Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Mr Anderson, met with some top fossil fuel industry executives in the US who praised Australia's position on global warming.

In July the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Australian Embassy in Washington gave a speech to a Competitive Enterprise Institute conference on The Costs of Kyoto where he claimed Australian business was strongly behind their government's stance in opposing uniform greenhouse emission targets for industrialised countries. Also speaking at the conference was Patrick Michaels, contrarian Wilfred Beckerman from Oxford University and others who gave reasons for not agreeing to emissions reductions at Kyoto.

In August the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a conservative corporate funded US think tank organised a conference in Canberra in conjunction with the Australian APEC Study Centre. The conference, entitled Countdown to Kyoto, was organised, according to the Australian, to "bolster support" for the Government's increasingly isolated position on global warming in preparation for the Kyoto conference. US Senator Chuck Hagel, who co-sponsored the Senate resolution on a treaty agreement in Kyoto, was a speaker as was US Congressman John Dingell. Other speakers included the Chairman of Australian multinational BHP and the Director of the think tank, the Tasman Institute.

Malcolm Wallop, who heads the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, chaired the conference with Hugh Morgan, the head of Western Mining. Wallop was a US Senator for 18 years who boasts of his achievements in promoting SDI and opposing welfare, progressive taxation, Social Security, and government funding for higher education. Wallop said in a letter to US conservative groups: "This conference in Australia is the first shot across the bow of those who expect to champion the Kyoto Treaty." He also stated that the conference would "offer world leaders the tools to break with the Kyoto Treaty." The conference was opened by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer who argued that tough emission reduction targets could put 90,000 jobs at risk in Australia and cost more than $150 million.

Patrick Michaels argued at the Countdown to Kyoto conference that the science to support "expensive and potentially disruptive policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions...is sorely lacking." Michaels also gave the good news about global warming to a global warming seminar organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, when he recently visited Australia. He has travelled the world on behalf of anti-climate treaty interests. In October he attended a conference similar to Canberra's Countdown on Kyoto in Vancouver organised by the conservative think tank, The Fraser Institute. Also attending this conference was Robert Balling.

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Additional Material

Countdown to Kyoto Conference Papers

Fischer, Tim, Deputy Prime Minister, speech opening Countdown to Kyoto conference

Hogarth, Murray, 1997, 'Why our stand on climate change is doomed', Sydney Morning Herald, 23rd August.

Lunn, Stephen, 1997, 'Defy greenhouse bullying: ex-senator', The Australian, 20th August.

'"Confusionists" Gather in Vancouver', Greenpeace Press Release, 29 October 1997.

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© 2003 Sharon Beder