The only worldwide headlines that Australia usually generates contains dingos, crocs and cane toads. But the anticipation around Prime Minister elect Kevin Rudd’s intention to ratify Kyoto has got the global media salivating. The glowing copy can’t get enough of our “youthful”, “shiny new” PM. Or as Salon puts it — “The earth thanks Kevin Rudd”.

  • The earth thanks Kevin Rudd: Kevin Rudd, Australia’s new prime minister, says he will immediately move to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, leaving the United States standing proudly alone as the only developed nation in the world still refusing to commit to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases. The news is timely, and not just because the latest report from the World Meteorological Organization documented a record high for atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide in 2006 and Australians are the biggest per capita generators of greenhouse gases. Coming up next week is the United Nation’s annual climate convention in Bali, Indonesia, where the pressure will be on for a new agreement on emissions reductions designed to kick in in 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol’s “first commitment period” expires. Kevin Rudd plans to attend. — Salon
  • Oz PM in eco vow: Australia’s new PM yesterday vowed to join the fight against global warming. In his first press conference, Kevin Rudd also pledged to withdraw 500 Australian troops from Iraq. Rudd’s predecessor, John Howard, had refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol aimed at cutting greenhouse gasses. — The Mirror UK
  • Rudd talks climate change with Gore: The youthful prime minister’s desire to bring Australia back into the international fold on fighting climate change is in direct contrast with the outgoing leader, who allied himself to the US in refusing to ratify Kyoto. During a recent tour in Australia to promote his Oscar-winning documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, Howard, who was until recently a climate change sceptic, declined to meet Gore – though the two spoke briefly on the phone. He told reporters: “I don’t take policy advice from films.” Climate change and the impact on the environment caused by global warming was a significant feature of Australia’s election campaign, with Howard deemed to be out of touch with people’s concerns about the planet and the damage future generations will have to deal with if sensible solutions to pollution and wasting energy are not found. — The Guardian
  • Signing Kyoto — the easy bit for Kevin Rudd: True to his campaign promise, Australia’s shiny new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, will sign up to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Australia and the United States were the only developed countries not to have ratified the treaty, and Mr Rudd’s move will leave President George W Bush even more isolated on the issue. Mr Rudd’s pledge to join Kyoto was one of his key points of difference with the man he vanquished so emphatically in the federal election, John Howard. For years Mr Howard argued, like his close friend President Bush, that signing up to Kyoto would harm the economy and cost jobs. A long-time climate change sceptic, Mr Howard belatedly began to express some concerns about global warming, but they came late in the day and were not enough to convince the Australian public. — The Telegraph UK
  • Kyoto Protocol tops Rudd’s agenda in Australia: Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change topped the international agenda of Australia’s new leader as he got down to work Monday. Kevin Rudd, whose victory Saturday ended John Howard’s almost 12-year run as prime minister, also vowed during the campaign that he would withdraw Australia’s 550 combat troops from Iraq and apologize to Aborigines on behalf of all Australians for the treatment of the indigenous population, an emotional issue that has divided the country. — International Herald Tribune
  • Bush more isolated as Australia’s Howard ousted: analysts There was likely to be a sigh of relief from government negotiators around the world who would shortly head to Bali, Indonesia, for discussions on how to strengthen the Kyoto treaty in its second phase, Greenpeace said. “The atmosphere at next week’s Kyoto talks in Bali will be markedly different due to this election result,” said Shane Rattenbury, political director of Greenpeace International. “The US administration will no longer be able to plot with the Australians in its effort to destroy international progress against climate change.” But Rudd, who has pledged to attend the Bali conference, stressed in his victory speech to rapturous supporters on Saturday night that he regarded the United States as a friend. — AFP
  • New Australia PM to sign Kyoto pact: The newly elected Australian prime minister has made signing the Kyoto Protocol his top priority. Kevin Rudd will act quickly to sign the climate change pact, his deputy, Julia Gillard, said on Monday. Rudd’s honouring of a campaign promise that he would make signing the pact one of his first acts in office would pave the way for Australia to have a greater role at a major international meeting on tackling environmental issues in Bali, Indonesia, starting next week. — Al Jazeera
  • Bush Ally Howard Defeated: Labor Party head Kevin Rudd’s pledges move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Howard one of President Bush’s staunchest allies. Rudd has named global warming as his top priority, and his signing of the Kyoto Protocol will leave the United States as the only industrialized country not to have joined the 1997 pact that set mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases. — The Washington Post
  • Rudd reaches out to Australians, world: Rudd said he was getting to work immediately on putting his campaign pledges into action including building a world-class education system, ensuring funding for hospitals and “action and action now on climate change and water.”  Rudd swept to power on his promises to reverse Howard’s unpopular labour laws, tackling climate change – which Howard said he would only do as long as it did not hurt the economy – and boosting basic public services. — Independent Online (South Africa)