I think that Yvo de Boer has one of the toughest and most important jobs in the world. He’s the United Nation’s top climate change official, which means that he’s pretty clued in about the whole international negotiating process.
Here’s what he had to say on the G8/MEF outcome:
Rich countries asking developing countries to take action before the rich come up with funding plans and set goals for their own 2020 emissions cuts is “like jumping out of a plane and being assured that you are going to get a parachute on the way down.”
I don’t think I’d risk the jump with the hope that Obama, Rudd and friends were waiting for me halfway down with parachute in hand. Would you?
But I digress. Back to Yvo’s comment.
G8 countries have tried to blame developing countries for the MEF not doing more to deal with climate change. But as Yvo says, it would be crazy for a developing nation to agree to make deep emission cuts before first seeing strong short term emission reduction targets from rich countries and a concrete commitment of financial support to help them tackle climate change.
Unfortunately, during the G8 and the MEF meetings, leaders from wealthy countries failed to make any progress towards resolving the deep split amongst them on the emissions cuts needed by 2020. This is really troubling. Time is fast running out to avoid dangerous climate change. We need to see wealthy developed countries, including Australia, stop fluffing about and commit to reduce emissions by 40% by 2020.
But there is a ray of hope when it comes to talk about financing. After the conclusion of the MEF leaders’ summit, President Obama announced that these leaders have tasked their finance ministers to develop proposals on climate financing to bring to the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh in September. This summit is the last time before the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December that all of these leaders are currently scheduled to be in the same place at the same time. Already, we have seen the British government come out with an exciting and bold finance proposal, if this new initiative, announced by Obama, results in serious action on financing issues by leaders at the Pittsburgh meeting; it could be a real game-changer in the road up to Copenhagen.
Australlian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his mate Treasurer Wayne Swan have a fabulous opportunity here to show global leadership by committing to pay our fair share of $4.3billion per year into a global fund to help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change.
Will we see Rudd and Swan take this necessary and bold step?
Rudd has been recently reported as saying: “The clock is ticking on climate change and we can’t just shuffle around and hope that something falls out of the trees, we’ve actually got to land an outcome”. Well said Kev. I couldn’t agree more.
PS. Don’t think for one minute that I didn’t notice, or have chosen to ignore, the deeply disturbing Carbon Capture and Storage Institute initiative that Rudd gained international support for during the talks, I think it’s so important that it deserves a whole blog post of its’ own! So watch this space.