Climate Change

"Climate Change is the great moral challenge of our generation" National Climate Summit, Parliament House, 6 Aug 2007


Kevin is a passionate environmentalist and a firm believer that climate change poses a real and present threat to humanity and our future. It is both a concern for every human being on the earth, as well as a political time bomb that, poorly managed, could threaten global security and international cooperation. Kevin has been active in leading Australia and the world in dealing with climate change and has rallied leaders from around the globe in rising to meet the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time.


“Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. Our choice will impact all future generations. This is, therefore, a problem which requires a global solution.” - UN Climate Change Conference, Bali, 12 December 2007


Climate change was high on Kevin’s agenda from early in his parliamentary career. Having spent time in Sweden and China prior to entering politics, Kevin was a young delegate to a conference on eliminating substances capable of damaging the ozone layer, subsequently becoming the Montreal Convention. This had a profound influence on his approach to global environmental reform.


Upon assuming leadership of the Australian Labor Party, Kevin made climate change a core pillar of his policy platform. As Prime Minister, Kevin maintained the momentum of the climate change agenda, both breaking new ground in policy as well as driving a shift in public perception on climate change.


His first official act as Prime Minister was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, something previous governments had refused to do. This formally committed the government under international treaty law to reducing greenhouse gases and improving compliance and auditing of carbon emissions.


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As Australia’s leader, Kevin was also active on the global stage, notably in his high-profile roles at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences. His address to the 2007 Bali Conference outlined his ambitions for domestic climate change policy. He was also a co-founder with then Mexican President Felipe Calderon of "the Cartagena Group" which sought unsuccessfully to bring about a real result at the Copenhagen Conference in 2009.


He was, however, a co-drafter of the Copenhagen Accord, produced by the conference's key negotiating group, containing critical breakthroughs on a 2 degree centigrade limit for future globalist emissions, and which was subsequently "gaveled" into international legal reality at the following year's Conference of the Parties in Cancun in 2010. It was this document that formed the basis of climate change negotiations over the following five years leading to the Paris outcome.


Climate change remains a core policy passion of Kevin's and has featured in many of his public speeches and policy participation activities since leaving office.


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