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Rudd's grand bargain: sell out the planet at bargain basement price

Prime Minister Rudd's grand rhetoric at the United Nations is a far cry from the reality of his actions on the climate crisis, the Australian Greens said today.

The Greens warned again today that the aim of global talks is not to achieve an agreement - it is to achieve an agreement that will protect the climate. That goal seems as far off as ever.

"Mr Rudd's grand bargain on the climate crisis is selling out the planet at bargain basement prices," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"China and India have taken greater steps this week than might have been expected, given how little countries like Australia and the USA have committed.

"Now it's our turn to take a big step, putting serious targets and serious financing on the table before Copenhagen. Unless and until we take that step, no global deal will actually deliver a safe climate.

"For all Mr Rudd's talk about anchoring the global agreement in science, his actions at home and abroad show that climate science comes a distant third in his priorities, behind sandbagging polluters and making life difficult for Malcolm Turnbull.

"It is a tragedy that Mr Rudd's 25% upper limit for emissions reductions is becoming the de facto upper limit for global negotiations. No scientist would tell you that this gives us any hope of preventing climate catastrophe.

"For all his talk about the threat to the lives and livelihoods of our Pacific neighbours, Mr Rudd's actions would see their countries disappear beneath the waves.

"We must never forget that Mr Rudd, as host of the Pacific Islands Forum, silenced the leaders of the Small Island States who wanted to make a strong statement calling for science-based emissions targets.

"Today's Communique from the Alliance of Small Island States, calling for a 350ppm target and 45% emissions cuts below 1990 levels from rich nations, shows up Mr Rudd's hypocrisy.

"As Sir David King and Lord Stern said earlier this week, it would be far better that no global climate deal is reached this year than that we get a weak deal that locks in climate failure.*

"A failure to agree this year at least leaves the chance of an effective deal next year.

"An agreement to fail is far worse than a failure to agree."

* The quotes from King and Stern are available at the Financial Times website here:
www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e4328854-a6da-11de-bd14-00144feabdc0.html

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