Shock And Bore: A Cheat’s Guide To Copenhagen

Shock and Bore: a Cheat’s Guide to CopenhagenDuring the weekend it emerged that there was a problem with the Copenhagen ‘Treaty’. No, it wasn’t the fact that there is no agreement on financing, targets, or one of the other many sticking points on the road to securing the sort of climate deal that we so desperately need.

Instead, the problem was with the translators of the current text.  It turned out that the text is impossible to translate, because it doesn’t make any sense.

This rare bit of humour is symptomatic of a major issue at the core of the climate crisis. The issue has become so complex, so convoluted and so confusing that only the most hardened of policy wonk has even the slightest bit of idea what is going on.

The result has been public disempowerment and even apathy: the perfect conditions for a government bent on looking good on climate whilst doing as little as possible.

Today, Greenpeace launched a briefing to demystify parts of the process, expose the gap between rhetoric and reality and above all, shed light on efforts by the Rudd Government to get something for nothing.

The briefing, entitled ‘Shock and Bore: a Cheat’s Guide to Copenhagen’ shows that through creative accountancy — essentially cooking the climate books — Australia is aiming to conjure a massive 13 per cent emissions reduction whilst continuing with business as usual.  For instance, we can hit an 8 per cent reduction simply by changing the rules for how land-use changes are accounted for. Sound like a cheat? That’s because it is.

Through a mixture of rule changes to Kyoto and the purchase of cheap international pollution credits, Australia would be able to meet a major part, or even all, of its emission reduction target even despite the ongoing expansion of the coal industry.

Great news for the big polluters and great news for Rudd’s image. Shame about the planet.

Australians are pledging to make Kevin Rudd’s name a dirty word if he does a dirty deal at climate negotiations in Copenhangen this December.  You can help make sure Rudd doesn’t use treaty gobbledygook to get out of a strong climate agreement.  Make the pledge today.

  • Steve Woodman

    “Shock and Bore” was a good read.

    I think it confirms what the National Party has been saying, that the ETS is really a way for a cash strapped government to tax its way out of trouble without having any effect on carbon emissions. If the Coalition went to an early election using this document as evidence of government disengenuousness, they’d certainly carry the regional centres … and I wouldn’t be suprised that swinging metropolitan voters, disalussioned by a government more concerned with appearences than action on a range of other matters, may go along with them.

    I think, in the dark and dingy corridoors of politics, global warming is just a side issue, useful for distracting attention away from other, more important things. In Clinton’s words “… it’s the economy, stupid…” to which Wayne Swan may add “… and a gynormous budget deficit, interest rates and Aussie working families!”

  • Louise T

    Great document. Very funny. The “blame China” bit really made me laugh.

  • Alastair L

    “I think it confirms what the National Party has been saying, that the ETS is really a way for a cash strapped government to tax its way out of trouble without having any effect on carbon emissions.”

    I agree the Labor party is proving ineffectual on climate change / global warming. If you really believe the likes of Burnaby Joyce have even a remote clue about addressing the issues let alone intentions to do so, you have more faith than evidence on your side.

    The ONLY way Labor will be goaded into staring down Big Industry is to lose Lower House seats to parties with Climate Change policy that’s for real ie. The Greens and perhaps in isolated cases independents. It’s the only sensory nerve the Labor party has — parliamentary power. It’s how they took power and how they plan on holding on to power for as long as they can, just so they can. Unfortunately it means those of us that would rather not get involved in party politics and election campaigning are faced with doing so or letting STUPIDLY short-sighted “leaders” degrade the life holding capacity and the rich and rare beauty of this planet.


  • Andrew Watson

    Chilling. I despair…

  • Lily


  • Pete Gorton

    Excellent summary, as far as it goes. Unfortunately there are plenty of other Annex 1 countries looking to cook up scams (as well), so we need to make sure that our approach is more transparent than theirs. The real challenge is to fess up our agreed $3.5Bn p.a. as our share to support the developing world in its mitigation and adaptation activities when we don’t play by the intent of the rules. Let’s additionally put REAL money into renewable energy, and worry about what “might” go wrong with the economy, later (it won’t!).

  • Gwynne K

    Thank you, Greenpeace, for exposing the sham that the ETS is in its current form. Unless the coal polluters are made to change, there is no point in any carbon trading scheme. The Coalition must get their act together to save our country and planet. The media must stop running their agenda on leadership issues of any party and allow all people who still have a home to concentrate on doing their bit to save this magnificent world.