Australia has signed up to the Kyoto protocol, leaving the United States as the only rich nation not to join the pact. The announcement came at the start of a conference on climate change on the Indonesian island of Bali, which aims to agree a treaty to follow Kyoto when it expires in 2012.
Australia’s change of heart came with its change of prime minister. Kevin Rudd’s first official duty was signing the ratification documents. Australian delegate Howard Ramsey said: “I am pleased to inform the conference that Australia will move to immediately ratify the Kyoto protocol.”
The United States, the world’s main greenhouse gas emitter, appeared to be unfazed by Canberra’s decision. Washington has backed voluntary targets to fight climate change but the American delegation said it was keeping an open mind regarding the new deal.