… Kristin Tilley*, one of the key negotiators on the Australian government delegation here at Bonn.

I sat down with Kristin to ask questions that you, the readers, had asked. We ran out of time to get through even half of my list, so more to follow soon.

  1. How do you think the talks are going so far?
  2. What’s going to be the biggest challenge to ensuring we reach a fair and just climate change agreement in Copenhagen?
  3. A number of developing countries have called upon developed countries to commit to an aggregate emission reductions target of at least 40%, what is Australia’s response to this?
  4. If you could ask 1000 Australians to do one thing to be constructive and help Australia to be effective in these negotiations, what would you suggest they do?

Read her answers here.

1. How do you think the talks are going so far?

Since the last Conference of the Parties (COP) in Poznan last year there has been both a shift in mood and pace. The key reason behind this is that we have moved from talking about high level aspirations to getting into the detail of the text, and what it should include.

Clearly, there is a big expectation for this meeting, as this is the first meeting where we have had negotiation text on the table to discuss. However, as this is a major document, with many new and interlinked ideas, the negotiations haven’t moved as fast people may had hoped, more time has been spent on reading and clarifying of the text.

2. What’s going to be the biggest challenge to ensuring we reach a fair and just climate change agreement in Copenhagen?

The biggest challenge is getting agreement by 192 countries, which all have varying interests and national circumstances.  We’re here to overcome a global challenge, but each country is looking to ensure that their contribution to the global effort doesn’t represent an unfair share of the burden.  And all countries wish to continue to develop economically, in particular poorer developing countries who are facing additional challenges such as poverty and lack of energy supply.  If certain countries push their individual priorities too hard the talks face the risk of breaking down which means that we won’t end up with any agreement in the near term.  We must continue to work towards an outcome which secures long-term, united action.

3. A number of developing countries have called upon developed countries to commit to an aggregate emission reductions target of at least 40%, what is Australia’s response to this?

Our Prime Minister has committed Australia to an ambitious domestic reduction target of 25% on 2000 levels by 2020 in the context of an ambitious global outcome. We hope that this will encourage the discussions to continue to move forward on the road to Copenhagen. Australia recognises that developed  countries must lead global efforts.  But all countries must contribute, in line with their national circumstances, to this shared challenge. Every country has different economic, social and environmental circumstances.  This means that the different numbers can represent similar levels of effort.

4.       If you could ask 1000 Australians to do one thing to be constructive and help Australia to be effective in these negotiations, what would you suggest they do?

I would encourage everyone to make their concerns and wishes for climate change known to the government. Our government has been voted in by the people and listens to the voices of the Australian public.

You heard it here first, keep the questions and comments rolling. I would love to hear what you think.

Your tracker,

– Cara

*Kristin has worked within the International team at the Department of Climate Change (formerly the Australian Greenhouse Office) for the past four years, and has attended a number of UN climate change talks

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