Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Put the pressure on Rudd at the Bali global warming negotiations

There's been growing concern at Kevin Rudd's softly-softly approach to the proposed targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to be discussed at the Bali negotiations to frame the next international agreement on cutting emissions. I think that this is where Rudd's avowed economic conservatism will collide with the expectations of the Australian voters who elected Labor into government on the hope – and promise – that Labor will do far more, and urgently and effectively, than Howard's government to stop Australia's slide into climate change oblivion.

Many developed countries are supporting the proposed cuts (to be made by developed countries)
of 25 to 40 percent below 1991 levels of greenhouse emissions by 2020 being discussed at Bali. Some scientists and environmentalists are saying this doesn't go far enough, so it would be a huge concern if this gets watered down further.

Meanwhile, Rudd claims his new government needs to do more research and modeling to see how the proposed cuts will affect Australia - economically. (Interestingly, I haven't heard talk from Rudd's people about how the cuts could help Australia's experience of global warming!) I reckon Rudd is effectively trying to buy some time so that he and his team can figure out their bargaining position at Bali. It may come down to a question of how much developed countries should cut their emissions compared to developing countries.

It is troubling move, or lack of movement I should say. Especially as the United States is now pushing to derail any attempt to mention any figure of emissions cuts in the Bali declaration – they are still playing the '
uncertain science' card! Any push to soften target from Australia could strengthen the USA's hand at Bali.

We need to keep up pressure on Rudd to commit to binding emissions targets that will be effective in slowing the rate of warming – to avoid the 2˚C rise in temperature that scientist say will lead to dangerous climate change.

You can do this by supporting the Get Up Australia petition calling on the Rudd government to take a stronger position on cutting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and to support the cuts proposed at Bali.

For a more international tact, you can also support the petition
jointly organised between Al Gore and Get Up Australia (amongst other campaign groups) to lobby for strong action at Bali.

I'll try to keep up with the movements at Bali and the campaigns, but it has been so busy, especially at work and with the lead up to Christmas at home, that I'm getting little time to blog.

The 25 – 40 per cent cuts by 2020
are medium-term targets they are arguing over, and the growing consensus is that strong medium-term targets are what is needed to make an impact on emissions and slow the rising temperatures. Now the United Nations is also putting the pressure on Rudd to declare his support for medium-term targets at Bali:

The United Nations says Australia must officially declare its position on short-term emissions targets when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arrives at the climate talks in Bali today.

UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boer says developed countries must commit to a global emissions reduction by 2020 if a new Kyoto deal is to make progress.

"Every week that you don't make clear where you intend to go is a another huge capital investment in a potentially wrong direction," he said.

[Updated 10.00 am 11 November]

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