Again I sat down with Australian delegate Kristin Tilley, to chat through some of the questions that you, the readers, had asked….
1. Do you have a negotiating mandate for here in Bonn?
The Government has set clear ‘negotiating instructions’ for the delegation through its commitment to a 25% emissions reduction target and the conditions associated with this. Our key objective is for a global outcome which is capable of stabilising at 450ppm or less. Both of these commitments are in our national interest.
2. On June 8th, 2009 The Age (Melbourne newspaper) printed an Op Ed by Ian Dunlop, the former head of the Australian Coal Association. Ian argued, that if Australia is to have a strong negotiating position for Copenhagen, “it should be aimed at the peaks, not the foothills.” It is clear that many Australians feel that a 25% reduction target is not good enough – what’s your response to this?
The Australian government conducted a robust analysis of our national circumstances to assess what emission reduction targets it would be feasible for us to take on board working toward a carbon concentration of 450ppm or less. In order to reach the -25% target, Australians will need to cut our per capita emissions by half (from 1990 levels) we believe that this is an ambitious target.
3. What industries has Australia identified should be invested in to move towards a safe climate future?
The Australian government, like the majority of the world, recognises that the way of the future is a low carbon future. We have made significant investments in the renewable energy sector and in clean coal. While people may criticise the government’s decision to invest in clean coal, it is the major export for the Australian economy and continues to be in significant demand around the world. And the International Energy Agency studies into climate change and the global energy sector clearly indicate that coal will continue to be a major source of energy for the coming decades. It is therefore essential that we develop ways to use coal more cleanly.
4. How will Australia support the level of technological innovation and transfer that is required to support developing countries transit to a ‘low carbon future? Can the government transfer Intellectual Property for new, clean technologies to developing countries?
The public sector has an important role to play in investing in research, particularly for up front research and development. The private sector and market mechanisms will also need to play an important role to ensure that investment in new clean technologies continues and they become commercially viable.
We believe that Intellectual Property rights play vital role in driving innovation in technology forward. As governments rarely own the IP for new technologies, this can’t simply be transferred to other countries. It’s therefore important for developed and developing countries to work cooperatively with each other and with the private sector to develop and deploy clean technologies.
5. How do you (personally) respond to climate sceptics?
I am not a scientist, but I believe that the evidence of global warming is clear, whether you look at Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or indeed reports released by the CSIRO, climate change is a reality. I am convinced by the science, so I would challenge a sceptic to convince me otherwise.
There you have it folks. While the negotiations here in Bonn are drawing to a close, you’re engagement in these issues does not need to stop here. Keep asking the questions, keep pushing our government to take on board the political will to be an international climate leader and take STRONG emission cuts and put NECESSARY financing on the table to support developing countries to both mitigate and adapt.
With respect and hope,