It’s hard to overstate the significance of the agreement announced today by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to limit US and Chinese greenhouse gas emissions. The limits are significant in themselves: not enough to guarantee stabilization of greenhouse gas levels at the agreed target of 450 ppm, but enough that we can get there just by ratcheting up an existing agreement rather than by looking for something new.
I’ll write more later, but I wanted to note this event as soon as I could
104 thoughts on “Planet saved … in Brisbane!”
I thought Abbott had kept climate change off the G20 agenda. And there they are, putting undramatic but OK climatespeak language in the communiqué. Note “legal force”. Means “legally binding on Australia, or pariah status and quite likely sanctions like carbon tariffs.” The commitments by China and India will imply the end of coal exports – we may not believe Goyal’s declaration that he can replace all coal imports with increased domestic Indian production, but that’s the policy. The paragraph is a slap in the face for Tony with a wet mackerel.
Let me get this right. The G20 gathering is an expensive signing exercise. The communique must have been fully drafted months ago by diplomatic and legal teams under the directions of their respective governments. A couple of points flow from this. The wasteful G20 could be dispensed with via a simple electronic sign-off protocol. Second point, Phoney Tony knew what it was going to say despite all his posturing for the domestic audience.
We have to ask ourselves what is the real point of the G20 meeting? It seems clear that it’s a vanity meeting and expensive photo op for the world’s politicians. Or to put it in a more historical context, it is a court complete with rulers and courtiers. Just as monarchs once held court not only in their own capital but at times moved the court around the kingdom or empire so do our modern and very imperfectly chosen leaders hold a combined court annually (the G20) . They move this court around the global empire of capital.
The ink is barely dry on the G20 climate communique when big coal gets a helping hand
– Chinese tariffs on coal imports to be dropped or phased out under the FTA
– Campbell Newman to give many millions to help the Galilee rail line go ahead.
Once upon a time there was this idea of unseemly behaviour. For example widows would not be seen out and about for a year or two after their spouse’s passing. Not so much these days. The political forgetting cycle is now just hours not days.
While I tend to agree that the G20 could be done with a great deal less self aggrandisment on the part of the participants, the Guardian has a piece in which it is claimed the text of the communique was, in fact, subject to a great deal of intense lobbying right through the weeks leading up to the summit. As you can guess, the disagreement consisted of us (Australia) trying desperately to remove as many references to climate change as humanly possible.