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Rudd must share blame if Copenhagen fails, but lifting his targets could help broker agreement

With growing resignation among global leaders that the Copenhagen Conference will deliver no more than another non-binding 'political agreement', Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong and those who gave them cover for their weak targets must share some of the responsibility.

Developing countries, led by Africa, have lost patience with the refusal of the highly polluting developed world to commit to the kind of targets the science demands. A move by Australia to lift our goal to that level - 40% cuts below 1990 levels by 2020 - could provide the kind of circuit breaker needed to rescue the talks and lead the way to a meaningful agreement.

"The clear fact that Kevin Rudd's woeful targets are holding back global progress now means that lifting them to the 40% level required by the science and the developing world could help deliver the kind of agreement the world needs," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

"Africa's walkout and pointing the finger at Kevin Rudd gives the lie to the Government's claim that it is vital to lock in their 5-25% targets to secure an agreement at Copenhagen.

"As the Greens have said all along, Kevin Rudd's woeful 5% target and the unreasonable conditions on his still too weak 25% maximum offer are part of the problem. Locking them in can only undermine the chances of global agreement.

"Imagine the global impact it would have if Kevin Rudd decided now to listen to the scientists, listen to the developing world, listen to the Greens and listen to his own moral rhetoric and embrace the ambitious 40% emissions cuts they all point to!

"That is the only thing Kevin Rudd can now do to help deliver a truly meaningful agreement at Copenhagen."

Senator Milne said a 'political agreement' at Copenhagen would be no more useful than the repeated and meaningless statements from meetings of the G8 and G20, and would barely progress talks from the Bali negotiations two years ago.

"Neville Chamberlain reached a political agreement three quarters of a century ago, and it did neither him nor the world any favours," Senator Milne said.

"The only value of a political agreement is to help political leaders cover their failure to actually do something.

"But a worse outcome would be an agreement that locks in targets that are too weak to prevent climate catastrophe, such as those in the CPRS.

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

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