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UNFCCC exposes Rudd's empty rhetoric

For all those who have been convinced by Prime Minister Rudd and Minister Wong's rhetoric that they are fighting for a 450ppm and 2C agreement at Copenhagen, and believe that that is a good start, a leak from the UN Secretariat over here exposes that claim for the fraud it is.

The leak, which can be downloaded here, concludes that, even with the highest pledges on the table from developed and developing countries, the world would be on a trajectory "that could lead to concentrations equal or above 550 ppm with the related temperature rise around 3C". That trajectory gives the planet essentially no real chance of avoiding the tipping points which would trigger runaway heating and climate catastrophe.

Perhaps now more people in the developed world will understand why the developing world is unprepared to be bullied by countries like Australia into signing their lives away - literally.

Why should poorer nations, who are historically far less responsible for climate change, be required to act before those who caused the problem? China must of course be brought to the table, but they are quite justified in arguing that they have already moved further than they need to without developed nations taking on their fair burden.

Why should the Chinese leaders not be pessimistic developed world leaders have point blank refused to lift their targets to the ambition that the science requires? I find it fascinating that Chinese leaders are criticised for their honesty when they tell the Copenhagen conference that they do not expect an agreement to be reached this week, but Kevin Rudd's dishonesty in his speech to the plenary goes unremarked.

Mr Rudd's speech this morning my time was, in Shakespeare's words, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". I guess that's what we today might call "all spin and no substance".

But, apart from the empty language on targets, the key impact of Mr Rudd's speech will be his reference to Tuvalu and Kiribati in making the case for action. The delegates from these countries will not be impressed that Mr Rudd used them as an example of climate crisis in the conference room when he and his staff have been bullying them outside the room.

One positive note coming from the last day is that it is understood that Russia have abandoned the idea of banking the gigatonnes of "hot air" they still have available. Because Russia was given a target at Kyoto that was far higher than they needed, they were able to sell millions of international emissions permits that did not represent any emissions reductions at all - a phenomenon that became known as "hot air". Russia had been pushing to have that rort rolled over into the coming agreement, a decision that would have completely neutralised the woefully weak commitments that are on the table. It would be tremendously positive if Russia had agreed not to push that claim any further.

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