Says he's optimistic for an 'operational framework' to be worked out in Copenhagen.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has joined what appears to be a growing chorus of voices suggesting that the best hope for an agreement at the U.N. climate talks next month in Copenhagen. That voice? Let's understand that we have several complex problems to work out and not enough time to do it.
"Unless you have got a core agreement on the core policy matters that are still on the table you can't put the legal drafters to work," Rudd told the BBC in an interview published Monday.
Since the weeks leading up to the G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh, Rudd has been seeking some strategic allies for Australia throughout the climate negotiation process. Rudd wants to be a leading force and voice in Copenhagen, and has been named a 'Friend of the Chair' by COP15 chair and Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. But Rudd also comes to the table knowing full well his country relies heavily on coal for its electricity generation, is the world's top coal exporter, and is the world's top emitter of CO2 per capita. Coal-fired power plants are the leading anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet today.
Rudd said that like the United States, Australia is trying to balance to the desire for action with the reality of being heavily reliant on coal. In fact, Australia and the U.S. are blazing similar historical and political paths on climate on several levels. But most recently, the opposition party's reluctance towards Rudd's carbon reduction plan has waned, and it looks like the Prime Minister could come to Copenhagen with an agreement in his back pocket, the same will not be the case for the American delegation most likely.
Rudd's tempered enthusiasm for brokering a political agreement at minimum in Copenhagen comes in recognition that the negotiators meeting in Copenhagen in two weeks still need to come to agreement on some pretty thorny issues like what temperature increase can we sustain, what targets should we expect from the developed world, and what kind of commitments to action can we expect from developing nations like China and India.
"We have the capacity to land an agreement--a Copenhagen agreement--one which deals with the core policy challenges for the future," said Prime Minister Rudd. "Transferring that into legalese will probably take a little longer," said Rudd.
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