Kevin Rudd: 'Countdown to Copenhagen'

By Sheridan, Barrett | Newsweek International, November 16, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Kevin Rudd: 'Countdown to Copenhagen'


Sheridan, Barrett, Newsweek International


Byline: Barrett Sheridan

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has bulletproof green credentials--his first act as P.M. was to sign the Kyoto Protocol, forcing his country to slash carbon emissions. In December he'll play a key role in negotiating Kyoto's successor at the Copenhagen climate-change conference. He spoke with Newsweek's Barrett Sheridan about the global talks. Excerpts:

What needs to happen at Copenhagen for it to be considered a success?

I believe that we need, at a minimum, a political agreement that includes targets on the part of developed countries and commitments on the part of developing countries.

What's the distinction between "targets" and "commitments"?

In the Bali road map, which was agreed on two years ago, those who were responsible for the accumulated stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--the developed countries--would face binding targets for reduction of total emissions. For developing economies, the commitments refer to verifiable actions to bring down their greenhouse-gas emissions below a "business as usual" level.

What else do you hope for in a Copenhagen agreement?

An appropriate set of financing arrangements to support adaptation and mitigation for the poorest developing countries, such as low-lying atoll states like Kiribati and Tuvalu. On top of that, you'd need a political agreement on deforestation. And then finally, you need language which supports real technology transfer.

I assume you mean sharing alternative-energy technologies with the developing world.

That's true. My own view is that it is important that the global economy regard many of these technologies as public goods, rather than simply private markets. Remember what we're looking at is large-scale -systemic market failure.

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