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Turnbull government COPs out in Paris

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Bill F.

In the course of the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Turnbull government has been thoroughly exposed as a devious protector of the monopoly fossil fuel industry and its life-threatening greenhouse gas emissions.

In the weeks prior to the Climate Conference it was revealed that 146 countries had each proposed a target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries.

However, these targets, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), would only limit global temperatures to an increase of 2.7 degrees by 2100, well beyond Kyoto aspirations of  2 degrees and way beyond the 1.5 degree limit sought by endangered low-lying and island nations.

The target of the Turnbull government was announced as a cut in year 2005 level emissions of 26-28% by 2030, only marginally better than the current level of a miserable 5% cut in year 2000 level emissions by 2020.

While Turnbull trumpeted that Australia would ratify Kyoto II and would exceed its 2020 target, he failed to mention that this will only be possible by including emission reduction credits from earlier commitments. Much of these credits are based not on actual emission reduction measures but on the dubious claim of slowing the rate of de-forestation. In fact, emissions have risen since the scrapping of the Gillard Carbon Tax, and will increase overall by 6% by 2020, with mining, energy and transport industry pollution increasing by up to 11%.

At the Conference other developed countries such as Britain, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden announced they would voluntarily cancel their emission reduction credits from the previous Kyoto period, no doubt under pressure from the masses mobilising across Europe.

Turnbull and Environment Minister Greg Hunt, on the other hand, obstinately wanted to hang on to Australia’s allocation of 128 million tonnes in order to scrape across the line by 2020. In doing so, they have thumbed their nose at the people of the world and the huge mobilisations across Australia.

This arrogant attitude was further illustrated by the Australian government decision to reject a communique supported by more than 30 other countries on removing fossil fuel subsidies. It came within weeks of the Turnbull government approval for the huge Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

But then, to cover its grimy tracks, the government proudly announced a contribution of $200 million a year to the Green Climate Fund for vulnerable countries such as Australia’s close neighbours in the Pacific. This is not new money – it comes from the pathetically small foreign aid budget – recycled, green-washed, and just as stingy!

Shifting blame
On the crucial issue of how much the various countries should contribute to remedial climate funding, the Australian government sided with US imperialism in trying to re-define China, India and Brazil as “developed economies” and therefore liable to contribute much more. Unlike Australia, China and India have both made voluntary contributions already!

It may come as a surprise that the Australian government has belatedly endorsed the international call for a climate warming target of 1.5 degrees by 2100. As long as the mix of actual contributions between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries remains obscure and unaccountable, the rich polluters can deflect blame onto others.

The new agreement to review each country’s progress every five years will have to be monitored by the masses and strictly enforced.


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