Day three of the Bangkok climate talks saw the Australian delegate turn her back on binding commitments and reaffirm the rhetoric of the Howard era by announcing Australia’s support for the USA’s goal of ‘aspiration emission targets’.

The Bangkok meetings are the first climate change negotiations since the landmark talks in Bali last December where Australia ended more than a decade of international climate isolation by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

Yet it appears little has changed since Kevin Rudd was elected, with Australia remaining uncommitted to real and effective action on climate change. We have to ask Kevin Rudd why his climate change negotiators are still parroting the John Howard line?

Binding commitments of deep cuts in national emissions is the only way we can hope to keep the planet from warming more than the two degrees that will risk dangerous climate change. We cannot keep greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere below that level without binding emission reduction commitments.

These talks are the first since Bali where hopes were raised that a post 2012 commitment period could achieve the global emission reductions needed. Another seven are planned before Copenhagen in 2009, where a post 2012 agreement must be finalised. These statements by the Australian negotiators do not inspire hope that we can live up to that challenge and avoid the global risks that dangerous climate change represents.

Posted by Paul Winn in Bangkok