Is Kevin Rudd The Climate Hero We've Been Looking For?


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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has positioned his country and himself as a honest broker in the international climate negotiations, and he is in New York this week to help get the stalled talks moving again. Australia is said to working behind-the-scenes on the legal framework for a new climate treaty and on methods to finance developing countries' efforts to adapt to climate change and the technology to develop in a low carbon way.Rudd is working on getting U.S. and China, the leading emitters of greenhouse gases, to agree on a deal before talks begin in Copenhagen. The powerhouses must agree on emissions reduction targets and on how best to fairly finance developing countries.

Despite Rudd's best intentions, he remains cautious:

"There is a danger, speaking absolutely frankly, that options for final decision at Copenhagen are left too late because we are now less than 80 days away.

''There are big decisions to be made on targets for developed countries and verifiable commitments for developing countries all of which bring down greenhouse gas emissions - and also how that is made possible financially as well and the technologies.

"What concerns me is that not enough of that is distilled prior to Copenhagen so that heads of government and finance ministers can make the right decisions for the future.''

Rudd will have his chance to hammer out a deal this week. After the UN meeting in New York, the G20 convenes in Pittsburgh. Australia's emissions reduction target is fairly modest--a cut of at least 5% by 2020 and a carbon trading scheme to be implemented by 2010.

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