Even as environmentalists and leaders pressed Australia to sign the Kyoto protocol in the wake of the latest UN report on global warming, the country's Prime Minister on Saturday maintained his stand to not sign the protocol as it excludes world's major polluters.
"Signing Kyoto is not going to solve the problem because Kyoto does not include the world's major polluters. We've moved on from that and in any event, we are going to meet our target under Kyoto, many of our critics who have signed Kyoto will not do so," Prime Minister John Howard said in a statement on Saturday.
"Australia has already undertaken number of measures to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. It will continue with those measures, but we will do it in a sensible, practical way which will make a contribution to solving the problem but will not do disproportionate and unfair damage to the Australian economy," he said.
The UN report that paints a bleak picture of higher sea levels and temperatures this century has urged the world to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but Howard said looking to solar and wind energy is not the solution.
Calling for the use of nuclear energy as an alternative, he said, "There is no point in the face of such comprehensive challenge of ruling out a consideration that may over time provide part of the solution."
"Let's be realistic - you can only run on fossil fuel or in time, nuclear power," he said.
Federal Opposition environment spokesman, Peter Garrett said the Government should establish a national carbon emissions trading scheme and sign the Kyoto Protocol immediately.