Dec 07, 2007 - 9:07am
As a tumultuous first week draws to a close hopes for a Bali mandate
that will help avoid dangerous climate change, hang in the balance. The
role that Australia plays in the coming week will be critical.
rightfully received standing ovations as it ratified Kyoto but then
entered the difficult negotiations on a Bali Mandate that will provide
crucial guidance to the post 2012 agreement.
Australia supporting a
Bali Mandate including a negotiating range of emissions reductions for
developed countries of an aggregate 25 – 40% by 2020 from 1990 levels,
would take this leadership to an important new level.
This is not a
domestic emission reduction target. In the Kyoto first commitment
period, industrialised countries overall (or in aggregate) had an
emission reduction target of a 5% reduction below 1990 levels by
2008-2012. Australia ended up with an 8% increase. The range of 2020
targets being discussed in Bali is seeking to define what this overall
target for industrialised countries will be in 2020. It is not a range
of possible domestic emission reduction targets for industrialised
Every major negotiating bloc, except the Umbrella
Group, supports this negotiating range. This includes the EU and the
developing countries (G77/China). Despite their membership of the
Umbrella Group, New Zealand, Norway and Iceland also support this
negotiating range. Japan, Canada and the USA are currently the only hold
outs and Australia’s position is unclear.
A Bali Mandate that
includes a 25-40% reduction for developed countries does not pre-empt
the Garnaut and Treasury review processes for Australia’s domestic
target. What domestic target Australia may undertake is not the decision
at hand for Australia. This will be negotiated over the next two years
based on the kinds of analysis being undertaken in Australia.
decision is whether or not they will support a clear mandate from Bali
that includes the need for industrialised countries as a whole to reduce
emissions by 25-40% by 2020. These kinds of reductions are required to
give the world any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.
Critically, China and some other large developing countries are showing
leadership and a willingness to accept binding obligations to slow their
emissions growth. This will not occur unless developed countries accept
the need to negotiate strong emission reduction targets. They have
offered an olive branch and Australia needs to accept it to build the
bridge to a Bali Mandate to puts the world on a path to avoid dangerous
global warming of more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.