Prime Minister Rudd's bottom end targets are now dragging down global action and should be scrapped immediately, the Australian Greens said today.
The US Senate draft climate bill released today increases the US unconditional commitment on emissions reductions to the equivalent of 19% below 1990 levels by 2020, up from 16% offered only months ago.
While this still lags dangerously behind what the science demands, it leapfrogs both Australia's 4% unconditional offer and the 14% target which is the maximum Australia would commit to under the kind of weak agreement that is now being negotiated.
With the EU offering 20% unconditional cuts, moving to 30% with global action, Japan now offering 25% cuts, and the science clearly demanding at least 40% cuts from rich countries, Mr Rudd must move immediately to drop his 4% and 14% targets.
"Mr Rudd's 4% and 14% targets are a global embarrassment and must be immediately scrapped," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"With Malcolm Turnbull unable to hold his own party together anyway, Mr Rudd should move to science-based targets and work with the Greens to get a real, effective emissions trading scheme in place instead of the fatally compromised scheme that is currently on the table.
"Although the world is still far from the kind of bold action we need to avert the climate crisis, China, Japan, India and now the US Senate are inching in the right direction.
"Mr Rudd's bottom end targets - 4% and 14% below 1990 levels - are holding back global action. Mr Rudd should scrap them immediately and make a 25% good faith offer, with the prospect of the 40% cuts the science demands if the world does commit to strong action.
"Mr Rudd and Minister Wong cannot pretend that their 24% commitment [on 1990 levels] has any meaning because the global agreement they are negotiating towards will not meet the conditions they placed on it."
Senator Milne also called on the Government to end its silence on financing for developing nations. Australia's refusal to put an offer on the table is also holding back progress towards a global climate agreement.
"There is growing anger from both developing and developed country negotiators in Bangkok that the Rudd Government has made absolutely no commitment on the critical issue of financing from rich countries to poor countries. The Government won't even commit to making climate financing additional to our existing aid budget.
"The gulf between Mr Rudd's climate rhetoric and the bleak reality of his actions is a global embarrassment. It is time the Prime Minister was called to account at home as well as abroad."