CHRIS UHLMANN: And when you speak of working with the rest of the world, the one thing that's clear in all this, isn't it, that if there is no movement by the rest of the world then this system won't make any difference at all to global warming.
KEVIN RUDD: Well, for Australia we are already the hottest and driest continent on earth. Therefore this continent is likely to be the hardest and earliest hit by climate change.
One simple fact is that the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology talk about what is going to happen with the future of temperature increases in Australia, the impact also which flows to drought - 20 per cent more droughted areas by 2030; if there's no change, a 63 per cent reduction in agriculture export. All that means loss to the economy, loss to jobs. Therefore we've got to act.
But I also know, having just been to the G8 meeting in Hokkaido in Japan, is that in order to have any hope of delivering a decent global outcome, that countries like ourselves have to be at the negotiating table and acting.
If you engage in this sort of game of, you know, waiting for someone else to always move first, always move first, then guess what? Every country adopts that strategy, every country adopts that strategy then actually no progress is made whatsoever.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Well you're going to move Prime Minister and you've just been to the G8 and you've spoken to some of these leaders. How optimistic are you that there will be an international system, that we'll have meaningful change?
KEVIN RUDD: I think it's, to be blunt Chris, I think it's just too early to tell.
What I do know is this. When I hear people like the Liberal Party here talking about the future of climate change and as if we're acting solely ourselves - we already have 27 states in the European Union who have one form of emissions trading or another. We have a large number of states and provinces in the United States and Canada doing the same. The Japanese are debating the introduction of the scheme themselves. Both the Republican and Democrat candidates for the presidency in the United States are committed to carbon reduction targets either the same as or more ambitious than we have for Australia.
The world is starting to move on this and the reason is, everyone is starting to calculate the economic cost of not moving, and that means standard of living and jobs.
It's a difficult challenge for us but I'm not about to bury my head in the sand and just hope it goes away. We'll embark upon this course of action.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Yeah, but just briefly on this point Prime Minister. In a world where we can't be sure whether the leaders are murdering their people or building nuclear weapons, how can you have a system where you verify the emissions of millions of companies?
KEVIN RUDD: Well, it's going to be tough but the alternative Chris is to do nothing.
Kevin Rudd. Leading the world in Stupid.
Click on the link.... if you can stand it.
I think that someone should be sitting next to Kevin when he speaks and every time he starts a sentence after a question with "Well," he should be thwacked on the noggin with a cluebat.