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Rudd must repudiate wrong-headed approach of reducing Kyoto targets

Prime Minister Rudd has arrived in Copenhagen just as developed country negotiators are suggesting that they may reduce the targets they have on offer for the Kyoto Protocol stream of negotiations in order to pressure China and India to accept targets in the non-Kyoto stream.

"It is difficult to imagine a more wrong-headed approach to the climate crisis than suggesting that rich countries reducing their Kyoto commitments might encourage countries like China to sign up," Senator Milne said.

"Australian negotiators have not yet made clear their position on this, and Mr Rudd must repudiate it immediately if his presence here is to be a help rather than a hindrance.

"China recently put a target on the table as its fair move in the global chess game of these negotiations. That move was calculated towards encouraging rich nations to lift their targets.

"China has said clearly and repeatedly that they will not sign up to a global agreement that binds them unless and until developed nations take on targets in the order of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

"How can anyone imagine that reducing target commitments would encourage China to sign up?

"In recent negotiations, the 30-45% emissions reduction range that was in the Kyoto text has been removed and replaced with an X. This is an ominous sign that sights are being lowered instead of raised.

"Tensions in Copenhagen are already running high and trust at an all-time low. This move can only make the situation worse.

"Of course, the move is a step even closer to the suicide pact that many of the world's most vulnerable nations are warning of, in that it makes it less likely that any agreement will actually be sufficient to prevent climate catastrophe.

"As the Prime Minister arrived in Copenhagen, his Attorney-General, Robert Mclelland, was sending a bushfire readiness pack to all Federal politicians, warning that this is projected to be the worst bushfire season ever.

"Mr Rudd must immediately repudiate this wrong-headed approach and foreshadow a lifting of Australia's woefully weak targets.

"Lifting our targets is the only way to a fair deal to avert climate crisis."

Senator Milne is available for interviews from Copenhagen between 6pm and 8am

Contacts

In Copenhagen: Emma Bull +45 205 30809

In Canberra: Tim Hollo 0437 587 562

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