Cli­mate deal role falls to Aus­tralia

The Weekend Australian - - FRONT PAGE - GRA­HAM LLOYD

Aus­tralia is be­ing called to push back hard on moves by China to weaken the heart of the Paris Agree­ment and give de­vel­op­ing coun­tries a blan­ket ex­emp­tion from hav­ing to re­port fully what ac­tions they will take to limit emis­sions.

China is lead­ing a push that in­cludes In­dia, Iran, the Arab Group, Viet­nam and a broad range of coun­tries from the so­called G77 for a blan­ket ex­emp- tion for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries from the same rules that would cover Aus­tralia, EU and other de­vel­oped na­tions.

This might be a ne­go­ti­at­ing ploy but se­nior of­fi­cials in Ka­tow­ice said it was pos­si­ble that without the US to push back hard, an agree­ment next week could al­low for an ex­emp­tion, with China and In­dia merely promis­ing they would not use it.

Coun­try lead­ers and heads of state are due to ar­rive in Ka­tow­ice from to­mor­row for the se­cond and fi­nal week of cli­mate change talks billed as the most im­por­tant since the Paris Agree­ment was reached in 2015.

Be­fore the Paris Agree­ment can take ef­fect, a rule book must be agreed that sets out a com­mon sys­tem so that all coun­tries can be sure other na­tions are do­ing what they have said they would do to re­duce car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

Re­search re­leased this week showed that global CO2 emis­sions had con­tin­ued to rise in 2018, driven largely by in­creased

eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in China and In­dia and a cold win­ter in the US.

Without ac­tion from de­vel­op­ing na­tions to cut emis­sions in fu­ture, sci­en­tists have said it will be im­pos­si­ble to achieve the UN goal of keep­ing global tem­per­a­ture rises to less than 2C.

The Paris Agree­ment was con­sid­ered a break­through be­cause it brought all na­tions into one sys­tem, af­ter at­tempts to do this in Copen­hagen in 2009 ended in dis­mal fail­ure.

The ear­lier Ky­oto agree­ment ap­plied only to de­vel­oped coun­tries.

The dead­line to reach agree­ment on a rule book to al­low the Paris Agree­ment to take ef­fect ex­pires at the end of the year.

Se­nior ne­go­tia­tors at the Ka­tow­ice meet­ing told The Week­end Aus­tralian ex­emp­tions now be­ing claimed by China and other G77 coun­tries went well be­yond the prin­ci­ple of “com­mon but dif­fer­ent re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” which is cen­tral to the UN frame­work talks.

“All the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions were bro­kered in Paris,” a de­vel­oped coun­try lead del­e­gate said.

“But every­body has slightly dif­fer­ent takes on what was agreed in Paris and what should be the level of de­tail in the guide­lines.”

Ne­go­ti­a­tions have been ham­pered by the de­ci­sion of the US to with­draw from the Paris Agree­ment from Novem­ber next year.

US ne­go­tia­tors are still ac­tive in the Ka­tow­ice talks but China has as­sumed a larger role.

Del­e­gates in Ka­tow­ice said the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness of the par­ties was one of an in­creas­ing ur­gency for ac­tion. How­ever, the dan­ger is that a rush to fi­nalise the rule book could put de­vel­oped na­tions, which have agreed to pro­vide more than $100 bil­lion a year to de­vel­op­ing na­tions from 2020 for fi­nance, at a dis­ad­van­tage.

The key to the Paris Agree­ment was that it would bring all na­tions into the one sys­tem with a sin­gle set of rules. But with one week to go to fi­nalise the rule book, ne­go­tia­tors said dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion re­mained one of the main is­sues that had to be re­solved.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Melissa Price is ex­pected to be called upon to help keep the deal on track. “It might be in the end game (that) she gets in­volved,” a source at the con­fer­ence said.

The chal­lenge is to agree guide­lines that do not have one set of rules for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and an­other more strin­gent set for de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.