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letter published in The Australian, 22 September 2009

Kevin Rudd’s new Ministry has limited experience of negotiations on international agreements and, before negotiating on any climate change agreement, it obviously needs advice on what old hands describe as the “French ploy”. That ploy is adopted by many countries which want to portray themselves as supporters of “good causes”. The strategy is to accept “binding” commitments but ensure that the agreements have let out clauses that allow them to avoid implementing the commitments in practice

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s proposal that developing countries be given “flexible” schedules to meet limits to emissions would undoubtedly evoke the French ploy. The outcome could only be no meaningful international agreement on a global target for CO2 emissions. The danger would be that Australia would have committed itself to a target  that would be meaningless internationally but highly damaging to Australia’s economy.

One can only pray that the Coalition will now indicate its opposition in the Senate to any emissions trading legislation unless there is a substantive international agreement on a global target that is binding on all.

Des Moore
South Yarra, Vic

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