During 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.