UN conference: climate "pass the parcel"
INTERNATIONAL negotiations are like a game of political pass the parcel and every government is desperate to ensure they're not holding up negotiations when the music stops.
Last July India was left holding the parcel of negotiating text for the World Trade Organisation's Doha talks when the music stopped, and was internationally condemned for the failed negotiations.
At this week's UN Climate Change Summit in New York, the grand rhetoric from political leaders shows they are seeking to make sure the music keeps playing when they are in the spotlight.
Kevin Rudd is proposing a "grand bargain", Chinese President Hu Jintao has proposed per capita emissions cuts and Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is celebrating proposed domestic legislation for emissions targets. Their statements aren't about securing agreement but laying the foundations of blame for when the December Copenhagen meeting collapses in attempting to replace the failed Kyoto Protocol.
Next week climate change negotiations resume in Bangkok to iron out details for a Copenhagen agreement. [Oh great, another week of climate nonsense to put up with - Ed]
Present negotiating texts include radically different and mutually exclusive visions for emissions targets and how to secure them through instruments, including international financing and undermining intellectual property on low-carbon technology.
Expect another round of media savvy statements to ensure no attending minister looks like they are holding back a deal. But the music will stop by the end of the December Copenhagen meeting and if ministers are smart, they won't be passing the parcel, they will be dropping it.
And while Rudd and Wong seek to pass their emissions trading scheme they will be committing Australia to unilateral action to harm our economy while the rest of the world points fingers for Copenhagen's failure.
So even if Australia isn't left with the parcel in Copenhagen, Rudd and Wong will come home to start a new game: ETS hot potato.
Read it here.