Copenhagen agreement tokenistic
WITH marathon UN climate change talks wrapping up in Copenhagen over the weekend, local conservationist Dailan Pugh is hoping Australia will go further than the agreement reached and slash our carbon emissions.
The final draft of the Copenhagen Accord was approved on Saturday following backing from the world’s powerbrokers, including Australia.
The agreement maintains a maximum rise in the average global temperature of two degrees Celsius and asks countries to report their pledges to curb emissions by February next year, but it does not mandate emission level cuts and the 2010 deadline for reaching a legally-binding climate treaty has been scrapped.
Mr Pugh said he thought the talks and subsequent agreement was ‘tokenistic’.
“A non-binding deal is next to useless,” he said.
“It seems to be one of those motherhood statements that sounds nice but it doesn’t redress the issues and problems.
“Even some scientists think that really no deal is better than a bad deal.”
However, Mr Pugh also said talks such as the Copenhagen summit were important steps to tackling the issue.
“At least the seriousness of the issue is being recognised, and any focus on the issue is productive,” he said.
“Australia is going to be one the most adversely affected by climate change, and it is already affecting us.”
Mr Pugh has been an active environmentalist and conservationist for many years, being part of the North East Forest Alliance in the 90’s, backing the Byron Marine Park, and seeing first-hand the damage caused to the Great Barrier Reef and red gums in Southern Australia.
“The Great Barrier Reef is teetering on the verge of guaranteed extinction, and by that I mean we’ve set in train processes that will wipe out the reef,” he said.
“The changes are already happening, and what we’re doing now will affect us in 20 to 30 years.”
Countries supporting the Copenhagen Accord will agree to keep the maximum rise of the average global temperature below two degrees Celsius, and Mr Pugh believes this makes ‘eminent sense’.
“If they had it at three degrees, it could pass the tipping point, and then we might get runaway climate change,” he said.
“At the moment we’ve had a rise of 0.8 degrees and I can’t imagine a rise of three degrees, let alone the maximum six to seven degrees they predict.”