Aust economists call for Kyoto action

Climate call: 271 economists say major economic damage could be done to Australia.

Climate call: 271 economists say major economic damage could be done to Australia. (Getty Images)

Seventy-five professors of economics have called on the Federal Government to stop undermining international efforts to tackle climate change and ratify the Kyoto Protocol without delay.

They are among 271 Australian university economists who have signed a statement drawing attention to the economic damage that could be done to Australia for failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Peter Dixon says the Government’s efforts on climate change have been marginal.

"We’ve been most concerned to protect our sales of coal," he said.

"Of course, we will lose a considerable amount of sales of coal whether we sign or whether we don’t in the end because in fact, the main part of the solution to the greenhouse gas problem will be reductions in worldwide use of coal."

Meanwhile, state and territory leaders have written a joint letter to Prime Minister John Howard saying they would like to be included in a national emissions trading scheme.

The Federal Government is due to receive a report on climate change at the end of the month and will make a decision on a scheme.

The letter re-states the premiers’ and chief ministers’ position that they have committed to starting a carbon trading scheme by 2010.

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