I like Louise, I really do.
But I confess, I find this blog really hard to write. I have been playing around with different ideas for this blog for a while now and am at a loss for how to write this. The best I can come up with is to tell you some of the questions I asked the Ambassador and summate her responses. Original, I know.
Here we go.
Me: What are the expectations of the Australian Government around a legally binding deal?
Louise: We want a binding deal. We will put our all our effort behind the Danish government. They have a bold strategy.
Me: So the Government is still hopeful of a legally binding outcome from Copenhagen?
Louise: No. Not a legally binding agreement at Copenhagen. We expect a high level political endorsement, a set timeline to cement a new treaty and fast start funding for adaptation and mitigation in the developing world
Me: Some people have noted that the negotiations have reached the conditionality for us to increase our bottom range target from 5% on 2000 levels to 15%. Does the Government plan to increase its lower range?
Louise: That is a cabinet decision. I cannot speculate. The Australian Government is working hard to achieve the most ambitious outcome we can get collectively.
Me: There is lots of talk about the Prime Minister being a ‘friend’ in the negotiations. Who exactly is he a friend of, a political agreement? Our neighbours in the Pacific who stand to lose much from the impacts of climate change?
Louise: The Prime Minister is a friend of the Danes. He is working very hard to help them ensure they get a great outcome. He is, of course, a friend of our neighbours as well.
Me: What is this ‘fast start’ funding that our Government is talking about?
Louise: A specific commitment has not been announced, however, at a recent Commonwealth meeting, the PM has endorsed the idea of a 10 B$ a year global fund annually by 2012.
Me: Will this be new and additional to existing aid commitments and projected increases?
Louise: A specific commitment has not been announced, however, in the convention, we undertake to provide new and additional financial resources.
Me: Many of us have been waiting for the PM to make an announcement on long-term financing commitments for adaptation and mitigation in the developing world. Will the Government make an announcement on this soon?
Louise: The Government is very interested in long-term funding. It’s still out there for negotiation.
On a slightly different note… .I did learn that her favourite book is Jane Eyre, her favourite movie is ‘Monsoon Wedding’ and she doesn’t have a favourite TV show because “her kids took over it years ago”.
Louise Hand gave a speech to the UNFCCC at the opening plenary on behalf of the Umbrella Group (Australia is the permanent chair of this group which includes, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Ukraine, The United States and Australia).
She stated “We, the Umbrella Group want a success at Copenhagen. We want a resounding success. We are committed to bold action, we are committed to a strong outcome”
There are many different interpretations of a strong outcome. As the negotiations progress today, a few logger heads are emerging, particularly around emissions from forestry (no pun intended I promise!) and the guiding text for adaptation. We are still trying to figure out what Australia’s role in these issues is… does it reflect commitment to a good outcome?
Perhaps I will title my next blog ‘the binds of diplomacy’
Tracking for you,
- I would like to thank the Ambassador and the Australian negotiating team for their willingness to meet –
About the authorPhilip Ireland
Phil grew up in Newcastle on the beautiful east coast of Australia. He's deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change on poor communities around the globe, which has shaped a passion for activism around these issues. Phil is a Ph.D. candidate at Macquarie University in Australia.