Back to All News

Poor countries threaten climate walkout: Rudd's target part of the problem

Kevin Rudd's woefully weak emissions reduction targets are helping to undermine chances of an agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference, with the world's poorest and most vulnerable nations threatening to walk out of negotiations unless rich nations commit to 40% cuts below 1990 levels by 2020.

News is now reaching Australia that the 55 African nations led the move at the Barcelona negotiations, supported by all other developing nation negotiating blocs: G77 plus China, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Least Developed Countries group.

"If Kevin Rudd wants to be part of the climate solution, he knows what he has to do - commit to cut Australia's greenhouse pollution by 40% by 2020 as part of a global climate agreement," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

"Global negotiations are deadlocked, with rich countries like Australia refusing to sign up to the kind of targets the science demands, and poorer, more vulnerable nations quite reasonably refusing to sign up to an agreement until they do.

"Kevin Rudd's woeful 5% target and his 25% maximum offer are part of the problem."

Currently only Norway has committed to 40% cuts, with the UK not far behind, having already legislated for 34% cuts below 1990 levels by 2020.

The latest science now puts this level of emissions cut as a minimum in order to give us a reasonable chance of avoiding devastating climate impacts.

"The African nations should be applauded for their courage in standing up for what is necessary in the face of climate crisis.

"While some, particularly in Australia, have been keen to suggest that financing mechanisms from rich to poor countries is the key to negotiations, it is becoming clear that, while financing is vital, the targets are the critical piece of the puzzle.

"Jeffrey Sachs has recently added his voice to the growing chorus of global experts including Lord Nicholas Stern and Kofi Annan who say that it would be better not to conclude negotiations this year than to risk a political agreement which will lock in failure on the climate crisis.

"A failure to agree this year is far better than an agreement to fail."

Back to All News