Tag: Australia

Australia and the KP: True Love or a One Night Stand?

 

Australia and the KP: True Love or a One Night Stand?

Dear Australia,

I‘ve been waiting for your call for months now. When we first met you gave me flowers and whispered sweet promises and commitments in my ear. Though you’ve taken years to take our friendship further, we have now been seeing each other for a while. I’ve grown to like your company and it hurts that you’ve stopped returning my calls.

I know over the last few years you have had trouble at home – especially with  your ex, Mr. Abbott, complaining that you should not be seeing me any more. But you still haven’t called, even though he sent me a little note recently saying that he’s happy for us to get together.

My good friend the EU has also been talking to you about linking up for dinner (and maybe sharing an Emissions Trading System?). This would certainly be easier if we all went to the same restaurant. Just imagine how awkward it would be if we all accidentally ended up in the same space, sharing the same air, but sitting at different tables. I don’t think the EU will want to have too much to do with you unless you and I are getting on.

Please Australia, it's time you called.

Yours faithfully,

KP

The Kyoto Protocol

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Australia and the KP: Time to Come Clean

Many ECO readers will recall the standing ovation Australia received in Bali in 2007 when the newly elected Labor government formally handed over the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The mood in the room was one of excitement and anticipation.

Fast forward almost five years and the spotlight is again on Australia as we wait with bated breath to see if they will join the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Since 2009, Australia has been calling for a “Kyoto-plus” outcome from the current round of negotiations. Yet throughout this year, their negotiators have walked a diplomatic tightrope, refusing to rule Australia in or out of the second commitment period of the Protocol. The official line has been that they need to see all final amendments before they can make up their mind. In ECO’s humble opinion, this is little more than a delaying tactic. Clearly no country should be expected to sign up to an international treaty until they have seen the final wording, but this should not stop them from signalling support in principle.  

If truth be told, the major barrier to the Australian government declaring its support for Kyoto CP2 has been political. As anyone from Australia will tell you, implementing effective climate change policies in the land down under is no easy task, with the two major political parties deeply divided on the best way forward. The Government, therefore, deserves our admiration for persevering with the introduction of a national carbon price in the face of a highly effective scare campaign against such measures.

Yet it appears that the fate of Australia’s involvement in the second commitment period may be separated from the political fight over a carbon price. Earlier this month, the leader of the main opposition party, Tony Abbott, declared support, in principle, for joining the second commitment period. There also seem to be good levels of public support, with a recent poll indicating that close to 60 percent of voters would support Australia joining Kyoto CP2.

The benefits for Australia are obvious. Signing on to Kyoto CP2 would strengthen Australia’s reputation within the negotiations, aligning it with other countries that support a top down, rules-based approach to a global climate deal. It would also remove the risk of being shut out of the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon markets.

Why wouldn’t Australia publicly announce in-principle support? With no obvious political barriers in place, the longer Australia delays, the more it looks like they are using the KP CP2 as a bargaining chip, presumably to extract something in other areas of the negotiations. If indeed this is Australia’s strategy, it is a high risk gamble. As we saw in Bonn in May, the political deal struck in Durban last year remains fragile and the last thing we need is Australia playing hardball with a key pillar of the Durban deal.

The Bangkok talks present a perfect opportunity for Australia to end the speculation and declare its intention to join the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This will provide much needed momentum in the lead up to Doha and equally ensure that the spotlight is put back on those countries who are truly opposed to a fair, ambitious and binding global deal.       

Come on Australia, you raised our expectations back in 2007, and just like a new partner, we had high hopes for something more. Will you meet the promise we imagined with starry eyes back then? We’re waiting by the phone to hear your response. Waiting for those two little words: I do.

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USA Earns 1st Place Fossil of the Day and Australia and New Zealand get 2nd Place Fossils.

    

The 1st place Fossil goes to the US for refusing to even discuss its mitigation and finance commitments under the Bali Action Plan. In the Developed country mitigation spin-off group yesterday, the US stated its disagreement to even discuss such vital elements for developed country action in the pre-2020 period as comparability – which includes common accounting – addressing the ambition gap and compliance. Important as workshops and technical papers are, they do not build a transparent regime that enables countries to show that they are acting in good faith to reduce their emissions. The good news is that he US did not state disagreement to discussing a QELRO for itself, so we look forward to seeing the US’s domestic carbon budget to 2020!

In the LCA finance contact group yesterday, some developing countries asked for a mid term finance commitment from their developed country counterparts. Instead of giving reassurance and using the opportunity to build trust in this currently toxic atmosphere, the US asked those developing countries if they had thought of a mid-term mitigation plan themselves to “deserve” this mid-term climate finance. However, the US seems to have forgotten that climate finance should not be held hostage by the mitigation discussion. Climate finance is needed to address adaptation needs for the most vulnerable countries. Besides, the US itself was the leader in brokering the $100bn deal three years ago.

The 2nd place Fossil goes to Australia and New Zealand for not submitting a QELRO carbon budget into the Kyoto Protocol. These countries continue to vacillate on whether they will follow the shameful example of Russia and Japan (and let us not even mention Canada). Our time in Bonn has shown that the international community is growing very impatient as it continues to wait and see if Australia and New Zealand deserve its scorn or its applause.

 

 

 

 

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USA Earns 1st Place Fossil of the Day and Australia and New Zealand get 2nd Place Fossils

 

     

The 1st place Fossil goes to the US for refusing to even discuss its mitigation and finance commitments under the Bali Action Plan.

In the Developed country mitigation spin-off group yesterday, the US stated its disagreement to even discuss such vital elements for developed country action in the pre-2020 period as comparability – which includes common accounting – addressing the ambition gap and compliance. Important as workshops and technical papers are, they do not build a transparent regime that enables countries to show that they are acting in good faith to reduce their emissions. The good news is that he US did not state disagreement to discussing a QELRO for itself, so we look forward to seeing the US’s domestic carbon budget to 2020!

In the LCA finance contact group yesterday, some developing countries asked for a mid term finance commitment from their developed country counterparts. Instead of giving reassurance and using the opportunity to build trust in this currently toxic atmosphere, the US asked those developing countries if they had thought of a mid-term mitigation plan themselves to “deserve” this mid-term climate finance. However, the US seems to have forgotten that climate finance should not be held hostage by the mitigation discussion. Climate finance is needed to address adaptation needs for the most vulnerable countries. Besides, the US itself was the leader in brokering the $100bn deal three years ago.

The 2nd place Fossil goes to Australia and New Zealand for not submitting a QELRO carbon budget into the Kyoto Protocol. These countries continue to vacillate on whether they will follow the shameful example of Russia and Japan (and let us not even mention Canada). Our time in Bonn has shown that the international community is growing very impatient as it continues to wait and see if Australia and New Zealand deserve its scorn or its applause.

 

 

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FOSSIL OF THE DAY: Week 1

 

First Place Fossils go to the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and China.

The first 1st place Fossil goes to the USA, for its continuing attempts to block negotiations on sources of financing, and refusing to discuss how it will continue to scale up financing in 2013 and onwards, towards the agreed goal of US$100 billion by 2020. We know that the USA faces some deep denial issues internally, as well as avoidance issues in the negotiations around issues like equity, capacity building and an international mechanism on loss and damage. Until the US is willing to have a frank and honest discussion leading to substantive decisions, it will be an impediment to this process.

An additional 1st place fossil goes to Canada for – can you guess???? – reneging on their commitments to fight climate change by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after Durban overtime, the Canadians had no such luck. Barely off the plane, Canada’s Environment Minister wasted no time in confirming the COP’s worst kept secret that Canada was officially pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Many delegates probably had already given up on Canada at that point, but those of us that live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to whatcan only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. While Canada’s actions are clearly in a world of its own when it comes to bad behavior in the Kyoto Protocol, there are others that are behaving in fossil worthy manner. Here, we’re looking at Japan and Russia for refusing to participate in the second commitment period and Australia and New Zealand for missing the critical May 1 deadline to submit their QELROS. Australia and New Zealand are on notice that we expect these submissions by the end of Bonn – though the sooner the better, as it is causing trouble in the KP.

And the final1st place Fossil goes to China for holding in abeyance the work programme on scaling-up pre-2020 ambition under the ADP. We agree with China that the ADP must not allow developed countries to jump ship from the KP and LCA to a weaker regime, but Parties can't hold critical parts of the Durban package in abeyance, which amounts to punting them to the other side of the moon. We can't hold the fight against climate change in abeyance!

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