UN climate roadblock no excuse for domestic inaction Media Release

Dec 20, 2009 - 7:00am

The stalled Copenhagen Accord is no excuse for stalling domestic action to address climate change, The Climate Institute said today from the UN Climate Summit.

"The Copenhagen Accord has hit a major roadblock but it is no excuse for inaction at home," said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

"The Copenhagen Summit is mired in disarray and disappointment, but the global clean energy race is accelerating with China and the US continuing full throttle towards competitive industries, jobs and investments - Australia cannot afford to be left behind.

"The US and China said loudly and clearly that, regardless of the UN outcome, they will continue unconditional action to reduce emissions, develop clean energy industries because it is in their national interests such as energy and resource security.

"Despite inaction at the UN level, Australia needs to press ahead with strong policies to drive low carbon and clean energy investments to take advantage of those opportunities but also to prepare for the urgent climate action that is inevitable."

The Copenhagen Accord still being debated is a ‘flimsy foundation' and does not set a path for a legally binding global climate treaty and The Climate Institute supports calls for the UN talks to be suspended and reconvened as early as possible next year.

"There is now a mountain to climb to get from the Copenhagen Accord to an effective, legally binding treaty next year and we are not even at base camp," Mr Connor said.

"Countries were not prepared to put even provisional pollution reduction targets on the table and it's impossible to assess whether the Copenhagen Accord would even form the foundation for a treaty that will avoid a 2oC increase on global temperature.

"Current emission targets would lock in dangerous climate change and the outcome is a collective failure of the world's largest polluters to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding agreement."

"Commitments on international financing were welcome but without robust mechanisms to ensure financial pledges are actually delivered, the Accord risks entrenching distrust between countries," Mr Connor said.

The Climate Institute's assessment of the Accord, according to its Copenhagen Checklist, rates the outcome of the meeting only 1 star out of a possible five.

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