Kevin Rudd wastes no time

And then there was one. In his first act as prime minister, Rudd leaves the U.S. standing alone as the only developed nation that hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

By Andrew Leonard

Published December 4, 2007 12:14AM (EST)

Kevin Rudd said ratifying the Kyoto Protocol would be an immediate priority. He turns out to be a man of his word. In his first official act as prime minister of Australia, Rudd signed Australia's name on Kyoto's dotted line while visiting Indonesia for the United Nations' annual climate change conference. According to the Financial Times, attendees at the conference greeted his act with a three-minute-long standing ovation.

As for the United States?

Harlan Watson, the US delegation's chief negotiator, said the U.S. felt no pressure to follow Australia and that "it is up to each country to decide how to move forward."

UPDATE: How the World Works was misinformed. A representative of the Australian government made the announcement that Rudd had officially begun the ratification process. Rudd has yet to arrive in Indonesia.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Environment Global Warming Globalization How The World Works United Nations