Australian climate policy and the Asia Pacific partnership on clean development and climate (APP). From Howard to Rudd: continuity or change?
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This article explains, first, why Australia’s government under John Howard, together with the United States Bush administration initiated the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) and, second, why the succeeding Rudd government continued to support this initiative. Climate policy under the conservative Howard government (1995–2007) in Australia was largely dictated by fossil fuel and mineral sector interests, and reflected a close alliance with the Bush administration. The Howard government shunned the Kyoto Protocol, refused to set national binding greenhouse gas reduction targets and preferred voluntary cooperative measures with industry. The APP was part of the Howard government’s strategy to demonstrate some policy movement on climate change while postponing serious action. Climate change was a key issue in the election of the Rudd Labor government in Australia in December 2007. The Rudd government quickly ratified Kyoto, adopted emission reduction targets, and moved to introduce emissions trading. The Rudd government’s decision to continue involvement with the APP, albeit with diminished funding, was a pragmatic one. The APP was supported by industry and provided bridges to China and India—both key countries in the post-2012 UNFCCC negotiations. Finally, in order to assess the long-term outlook of the APP, the article provides a preliminary assessment as to whether the APP advances technology transfer.
KeywordsAsia Pacific partnership on clean development and climate Australian climate policy Technology transfer
The author thanks the following for thoughtful suggestions on earlier drafts of this article: Harro van Asselt, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Jeff McGee, Steve Waight, Anja Hilkemeijer and the anonymous reviewers. All views, errors and omissions are the author’s.
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