If you picked up the Sydney Morning Herald or the Melbourne Age this morning, you would’ve seen the front page story about Australia trying to cook the books at Copenhagen. Kevin Rudd was just grilled about it on ABC Radio – and it’s about time.
The big lie of the climate summit is finally being revealed. We wrote about it months ago in the Cheat’s Guide to Copenhagen. And now, Australia’s negotiators have finally been caught out.
Heard of LULUCF? Most people haven’t. But it’s a HUGE deal at Copenhagen, and is part of the fine print that could mean Australia’s final agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
You can read some background below or just skip through to your instructions at the end.
Here’s what they’re trying to do
The Australian negotiators are trying to change the rules relating to how emissions from land use are counted.
What they want is for Australia to be allowed to count the carbon that gets sucked up by the soil and vegetation, while not including the emissions produced from this sector. And they produce alot. In 2002-03, bushfires resulted in around 190MT of emissions – equivalent to 27 average-sized coal-fired power stations for a year. But this wouldn’t count.
It’s basically a scam that would make it much easier for Australia to meet a higher emissions reduction target without actually having to do anything.
Here’s why it’s a problem
Australia pulled off a similar scam in the Kyoto Protocol back in 1997 – infamously known as “The Australia clause”. It meant that Australia’s actual greenhouse pollution (from burning coal, oil and so on) could continue unchecked while we could still look much better than we actually were.
The big risk is this: with this kind of accounting fraud, Australia can look like it’s taking climate change seriously, while we go on pumping greenhouse pollution into the atmosphere.
The only way we are going to solve the climate crisis is if we start to transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy, stop deforestation and take other measures to cut actual emissions.
Accounting tricks won’t fix the problem.
Our team on the ground in Copenhagen is working hard to build consensus around a real solution for land use that will actually reduce our overall carbon emissions. We need your help to keep the issue in the public spotlight so our team can pressure the negotiators for the right outcome.
What to say. Tell Senator Wong that you are concerned about what you are hearing in the media about Australia cooking the books. Here are some quick talking/writing points to help.
1. I am concerned that LULUCF is being used as a way for Australia to cook the books at Copenhagen.
2. Australia managed to cheat its way through Kyoto. I don’t want us to do it again at Copenhagen.
3. I want Australia to adopt a strong target of at least 40% cuts by 2020 and I want this to come from real emissions reductions, not some accounting fraud.
4. I agree that land use is important, but not if it’s just used as an accounting trick to let the coal industry off the hook.
5. It is fraudulent to only count the positive side of land use and not the negative side. It is like only counting deposits in your bank and ignoring all of the withdrawals. It is cheating.
We’ll hopefully have some more info tomorrow morning and will update you as soon as we get anything in.
We’re still waiting to hear back on the CCS in the CDM issue – but will keep you posted.
Thanks for taking action and stay tuned.
PS: Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Copenhagen on our Climate Emergency website.