Abstract

While Australia has signed both the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it has failed to ratify the latter. It is nevertheless committed to meeting its +8% Kyoto target for greenhouse gas emissions, and argues that it is on track to doing so. This paper examines Australia's non-ratification politics and greenhouse policy efforts in an attempt to explain its contrary position of resisting Kyoto, yet embracing and pursuing its emission reduction targets. Australia's behavior as a carbon-intensive nation is highly significant in the global context, and this paper focuses on the domestic factors of interests, ideas and institutions, while also considering international factors in trying to explain Australia's non-ratification of Kyoto and climate change policy development. It finds that while ideas and institutions have been modifying influences in the domestic context, political and economic interests have dominated Australia's greenhouse policy.

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Author notes

Kate Crowley is a Senior Lecturer and Graduate Coordinator in the School of Government, and Deputy Dean of Graduate Research, at the University of Tasmania. She has published extensively on environmental politics and policy, in journals such as the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, Environmental Politics, Local Environment and the Australian Journal of Political Science. She is coeditor of Australian Environmental Policy: Studies in Decline and Devolution (1999) and Chair of the State Government of Tasmania's Environment Industry Council.

The Weyerhaeuser Foundation has supported this project thanks to the efforts of Kathryn Harrison of the University of British Columbia for which the author is most grateful. The author wishes to thank the editors of this collection for their suggestions and editing, and the reviewers for their supportive feedback.