Shorter Plan A

There’s a very comprehensive review of Kevin Rudd’s “there is no plan B” speech in Bali by Guy over at Polemica that’s well worth a read.

Posted in politics
26 comments on “Shorter Plan A
  1. Paul Burns says:

    Rudd’s speech was admirable. But it turned out to be all piss and wind. When it came to the crunch he backed the US on not putting in targets of 20-45%.
    I’ve initiated a letter writing campaign via the internet through people I e-mail too expressing absolute discust at his sudeden transformation into a trans-Pacific poodle.

  2. mbahnisch says:

    I think Rudd is arguing that the process has to be agreed before the targets, Paul, and since gaining agreement is the vital step precedent to doing anything else, I can see where he’s coming from. It’s pretty clear that his speech was a vigorous sideswipe at the US/Canadian do-nothing position. Penny Wong has also made it clear that Australia isn’t aligning itself with them.

  3. Paul Burns says:

    I hope you’re right, Mark. There’s a report in today’s Guardian via Google News which is very disturbing.

  4. Debbie(aussie) says:

    Until I read the speech I too thought as Paul does. But I will withhold judgment till nest year. But I find all the talk and no action a little worrying. If everybody is going to wait until somebody else starts the ball rolling we are up the not so proverbial creek.

  5. mbahnisch says:

    Paul, I was somewhat reassured by reading the reports in today’s Fin Review which usually covers these things well. I think we’ve been somewhat ill served by some of the reportage of what’s going on in a fairly complex negotiation, and it also appears that the Australian officials weren’t properly prepared last week to communicate Australia’s changed position.

    Debbie – I’m not sure it’s right to say that there’s “all talk and no action”. Inevitably there has to be a lot of talk because what is key is seeking global agreement – and that’s very hard to do indeed. I’ve got no doubt that when the Garnaut report comes out we’ll see action. Someone commented somewhere or other today that Rudd always thinks several moves ahead of the game, and I think that what we can see at the moment is the framework being established, and the moves in the future which will fill in the picture have already been contemplated. Certainly the reception of Rudd’s speech from developing countries – particularly in our region – is a very positive sign in my opinion.

  6. Paul Burns says:

    Mark, I’m sure you and many others on LP by now are aware of my disposition to panic. I panicked JWH would win the election, frequently, if you remember. What really bothers me about global warming, and the Europeans seem to have got this, perhaps because they live so close to the North Pole, is that we don’t have the time any more to waste to debate over solutions. If the politicians of the world don’t come up with a viable solution very soon, the planet will die.Every week, now, that passes in inaction brings us closer to the tipping point, the place where no matter what we do, the planet will die. What use is economicsor money then.
    Worse, inaction has the potential to create wars – those who want to stop global warming going to war with those who refuse to act, for example. Imagine the human cosy and environmental carnage that will cause.We simply do not have the time to be diplomatic and nice about this.We might all die off but we have to save the world for our kids.

  7. Paul Burns says:

    Correction to 6. cosy =cost

  8. mbahnisch says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the urgency, Paul, but we’ve actually come quite a long way quite quickly – Rudd’s election is being interpreted around the world correctly as a sign that no democratic government can survive if it puts its head in the sand on this issue. But it’s very important to get agreement – more important than to demand solutions which will then not be implemented because talks break down or fail to reach consensus.

  9. Paul Burns says:

    I do agree, but the planet’s still approaching terminal.

  10. bahnischba says:

    Good speech. Clive Hamilton at Crikey also liked it.

    Rudd supports 2020 targets in principle, he just didn’t want to commit to those particular numbers before he can explain that the sky isn’t going to fall in (or at least that it’s a cheaper option than doing nothing). For that he needs Garnaut. I think you can take it as read that he knows what Garnaut is thinking.

    Mark said:

    I think that what we can see at the moment is the framework being established

    That’s what the argument is all about – the ground rules, not only for the next two years of decionmaking, but for the action years post 2012. The ABC was reporting it this evening as a slugfest between the US and the EU. Neither will back down, I think, so what’s the outcome likely to be?

    The EU will insist on the numbers being there, but they will be less than binding. After Bush goes no matter who wins the election tha US will come on board. Both the numbers and US commitment to them are essentail for the developing countries coming to the party.

    The Chinese are ready to deal, but are waiting for Bush to go. When Bush had his climate meeting in September the Chinese spent a lot of time talking to Congressional leaders. They’ll play the long game.

    The Japanese are trying to save their butts because they will have trouble meeting their Kyoto commitments, but in the long run they’ll go with the flow.

    The Canadians will then be isolated and may walk away if Harper is still running the show. This is probably not a deal breaker.

    The Russians are a bit of a worry. On one report they are soft on targets.

    Spare a thought for Angela Merkel. She busted her gut getting the Europeans lined up, which was no mean feat, then got the G8 to make the right noises. It’s pretty clear that half of them (the non-Europeans) didn’t mean it, so what a waste of time that was!

    Then in a preliminary meeting in Vienna in September everyone, including those who now don’t, accepted the 25-40% target.

    The present kerfuffle means at the very least that the world will have wasted more than half the two years it set aside for planning the post-Kyoto arrangements.

  11. mbahnisch says:

    To what degree is Rudd something of a circuit breaker, Brian? Meaningfully?

  12. Paul Burns says:

    Is Rudd a circuit-breaker? I simply don’t understand, given what he said, why he sided with the Bush administration. If you google the Time report on Google news its very clear most of the states in the US are not behind Bush. I know those guys are not at the table, but why couldn’t Rudd stand with them?
    I accept the home domestic argument because it does make some sense, but we’re talking at an international level here. Probably the best thing we could have done at Bali, given that domesticf aspect, was to stay neutral and definiterly not back Bush, who clearly, is no longer representing American attitudes on climate change, or Canada or Japan.I know Rudd is putting immense pressure on Bush, and we should all appreciate that, but why support him when it comes down to the crunch? As it is thje Europeans are mightily pissed off and talking about boycotting Hawaii next year. I don’t think they should, if only because it will give Bush a free run at obstruction. Still, it looks like we’ve got till Saturday to go, and a lot might be acxhieved diplomatically by then.Or it might not be. And that’s what I fear.
    The other thing I fear, is the Republicans win the next presidential election, and McCain is not the Republican President. Then we have to put up with these vandals for another four years.I don’t need to say we don’t have that time.

  13. bahnischba says:

    Paul, Rudd has not sided with Bush. The ABC was reporting that he “fell in behind Bush” but he didn’t. He’s really in a category of his own.

    BTW Australia is chairing the “umbrella group” (Penny Wong – Garrett is off doing deals, and probably usefully so) of about 17 nations who are doing the active work on the text. They were considering 5 versions. Wong probably has her hands so full she doesn’t need to state a view.

    (I think we had the chair from way back. It came about because the US was always going to be at the table and they got Australia the chair as a reward for services rendered and so that it would be in friendly hands. Penny Wong showing up was not part of the script.)

    That’s a long way round to answer your question, Mark, about Rudd as circuit breaker. In my opinion he isn’t.

    Rudd said he was going to lead our delegation. He didn’t. He was 6 minutes late for a photo op to present his Kyoto paper work (making the UN Secretary General wait is not smart) and got to make a speech, which was well-received. Leading our delegation would have meant doing what Wong is doing. It’s better to let her do it.

    Paul’s right about his stance being for domestic consumption. It was a missed opportunity internationally, as it could have tipped Japan and thus isolated the US and Canada. Also until he signs up to targets and supports them internationally, the developing countries are not going to be impressed. He said he wants to lead on the issue, but I think that will have to wait.

    Rudd could have supported the targets internationally and then used Garnaut’s arguments to argue for a special case if Garnaut recommended weaker targets. Lenore Taylor in the AFR was the only journalist who said as much.

  14. GregM says:

    Brian, I agree with much of your post.

    But this?

    “making the UN Secretary General wait is not smart”

    Why not? Your comment seems in its construction pregnant with retaliation.

    What could that possibly be?

  15. paul walter says:

    Paul B, you wear your heart on your sleeve. Sorry, must agree with the various bahnisch- unilateral doesn’t work in this situation and most of all for a small player like Australia. We can go live in the hills, wear loincloths and eat locusts, but the Chinese, Americans etc will still ultimately choke us as much as themselves.
    I wonder if Rudd discussed logging Borneo with kind Susilo Bam Bam and if he talked about how he would lead by example by dealing with Tasmanian eradication of carbon sinks?
    Will the Americans start to rebuild their public transport system just as the Chinese get hooked on the cars/ freeways cosumer fetish?
    What’s happening is as much about de facto trade negotiations as ecology, and Ricardian economics as much as climate science.

  16. Paul Burns says:

    I know I wear my heart on my sleeve, pw. I don’t know any other wat to live. From rhe latest reports I’ve read Wong is still beavering away, and as Garrett says, a day is a long time in these sort of negotiations. We’ve made some achievements in technology transfer, and some in defforsetation agreements. I’m cynical enough to believe they don’t mention Tasmania.
    Apparrently the US has succeeded in removing short term targets from the main document, but Wong may, or may not be trying to change that somehow. The reports are unclear to me.
    So I guess the planet remains in danger of dying because America has an imbecile of a Texas oil-man in the White House.

  17. bahnischba says:

    GregM, as far as I can tell, this is what happened.

    Rudd wanted to present his Kyoto paperwork in person. There was no reason why he had to do this functionally. It was just a media event. The SG made himself available and they found a venue where he could do this in front of the media. The SG was putting himself out for Rudd.

    Under those circumanstances Rudd should have been there in plenty of time. The way I heard it the SG, who had other things to do, wouldn’t have waited much longer.

    Not smart.

  18. GregM says:

    “Under those circumanstances Rudd should have been there in plenty of time. The way I heard it the SG, who had other things to do, wouldn’t have waited much longer.”

    But he did wait, a whole six minutes, and I have no doubt that despite his grumbling he would have waited a whole lot longer.

    It is delusional to think that the Secretary General of the United Nations is a significant player in world affairs. He needs Rudd, especially since Australia’s commitment to the Kyoto protocol isolates the US and advances his agenda, a lot more than Rudd needs him. By being late and making him wait Rudd was showing him who was boss. Clever diplomacy.

    Carry on with your fantasies.

  19. bahnischba says:

    On deforestation, technology transfer, funds for adaptation for poor countries etc I believe much has been achieved, but there has been no detail I’ve seen. The reporting has been preoccupied by the the targets.

    The best idea has come from Al Gore. Just leave a blank paragraph, move on, work as though it’s there, and then insert it after Bush goes. With word processing you don’t need to leave a blank space.

    The problem is that whether it’s there or not affects what you do in the next year.

    Paul B I share some of your gloom, but I’m not being emotional about it. They say we need to base what we do on the science, and then quote the IPCC. This is science up to 18 months ago. None of the official positions take on board the latest science in my view, not even the Europeans.

    I gotta write something about this soon, but now I have to work and tonight I’ll be stuffed as usual.

    Just on deforestation, 2012 is far too late. Kalimantan will be pretty much gone if we leave it until then. Howard’s famous $100 million initiative was marginal to the problem. I understand it was just a rebadged forestry initiative from regular forestry funds.

  20. bahnischba says:

    GregM I’m programmed to consider rudeness undesirable. Unlike you, apparently.

    Seeya tonight.

  21. GregM says:

    You’ve never been late to anything then Brian? How saintly.

    That’s all he was. And for all you know he was detained in serious discussions about how to achieve real and substantial progress at Bali and had to make a judgment call on whether give that or a photo op with a nonentity priority.

  22. bahnischba says:

    Well, yes, I was late for a doctor’s appointment yesterday, because a water main burst in Countess Street and turned the traffic for miles around into gridlock. But other than that I tend to arrive early.

    OK there may be other explanations, but I would hope it wasn’t showing Ban Ki-Moon who was boss.

  23. Paul Burns says:

    Now that its over, I resile from my initial comment and congratulate Rudd, Penny Wong, Peter5 Garret etc. It means I’ll have to eat humble pie in the Armidale Independent in the next few weeks. I don’t mind that. Its not like I was throwing brickbats at JWH which I’ll never apologise for.
    However, it would appear [cf ABC online. Google News} the Imbecile in the White House isn’t finished yet. I predict we can sit back and watch him try to throw a spanner in the works during Hawaii.

  24. bahnischba says:

    Paul I’ve just finished a draft of a longish wrap on the Bali thing, including a shorter version of the post I’d been planning to say where I think we are placed (teetering on the edge, basically). I’ll post it later this afternoon. That will have to it from me before Christmas, but I still intend to do a more detailed exposition of where we are at next year.

  25. Paul Burns says:

    looking forward to it.

  26. Roger Jones says:

    For the record, I think the current plan is good from a risk management process, and about the best that can be expected. The pathway to targets will not be gradual and there needs to be room to become more stringent if needed. Positions of precaution, and choosing a poorly framed target now, based on wanting to avoid less stringent conditions, seem to me to be too simplistic. The Bali Plan of Action opens the doot to a potentially richer set of possibilities. Heaps of work will be needed over the next two years to inform those possibilities.

    People starting now on their own voluntary actions, would help sheet home that message. A visible reduction in emission rates without Protocols would send a mightily powerful message.

    Lots of thinking, lots of talking and lots of doing, most of all.

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