Australia’s bad faith at climate negotiations triggers Africa walkout
Launceston, Thursday 5 November 2009
Kevin Rudd has been singled out by a leading African climate negotiator
as a leader failing to live up to his political promise as a meeting at
global climate negotiations chaired by Australian negotiators ended with
African nations walking out in protest.
The 55 African nations, supported by all other developing nation
negotiating blocs (G77 plus China, the Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS) and the Least Developed Countries group), are calling for
developed nations to commit to binding targets in the order of 40% below
1990 levels by 2020 before negotiations continue on other, less critical
“Kevin Rudd cannot claim to be a ‘friend of the chair’ at the global
climate negotiations while his woeful targets are undermining meaningful
action,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.
“African representatives are rightly pointing out that their people are
dying now because of the historic and current behaviour of rich
countries like Australia.
“Kevin Rudd’s woeful 5% target and the unreasonable conditions on his
still too weak 25% maximum offer are part of the problem.
“The Greens are the only group in Australia’s parliament whose
commitment to science-based climate action would actually deliver an
agreement in Copenhagen.”
Australian negotiators were chairing a ‘trust building’ meeting on
behalf of the ‘Umbrella Group’, including the USA, Canada and others.
However, African negotiators led a walkout when it became clear that
meaningful emissions reduction targets would not be on the table.
Sudanese delegate and lead negotiator for the G77 plus China, Lumumba
Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping, said in his press conference: ‘If there is
anything that you know about politics and political manifestos is that
they are worth very little. Tell me of any politician who delivered on
his political manifesto. Is it Gordon Brown? Is it Kevin Rudd?’
“The African nations should be applauded for their courage in standing
up for what is necessary in the face of climate crisis and their move
has been vindicated by the decision to focus the majority of remaining
negotiations in Barcelona on targets,” Senator Milne said.
“While some such as the Climate Institute in Australia have been keen to
suggest that financing mechanisms from rich to poor countries is the key
to negotiations, it is becoming clear that, while financing is vital,
the targets are the primary and critical piece of the puzzle.
“Focussing on financing instead of targets is only giving cover to the
Rudd Government and others who are trying to portray themselves as
leading on climate change while their actions show they are dragging
“Jeffrey Sachs has added his voice to the growing chorus of global
experts including Lord Nicholas Stern and Kofi Annan who say that it
would be better not to conclude negotiations this year than to risk a
political agreement which will lock in failure on the climate crisis.
“A failure to agree this year is far better than an agreement to fail.”
Senator Christine Milne | Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate
Suite SG-112 Parliament House, Canberra ACT | P: 02 6277 3588 | M: 0437
PROTECTING THE CLIMATE IS A JOB FOR EVERYONE