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Copenhagen: climate refugees « Previous | |Next »
December 5, 2009

Is the Rudd Government on edge about climate change refugees from the Pacific Islands being given legal access to Australia due to rising temperatures and sea levels? Will the Rudd Government argue that the UN should redefine international law to give climate refugees the same protection as people fleeing political repression? Will they create a new visa category to be created for climate change refugees?

Yes, no, maybe is my immediate response without doing much by way of research.

Bangladesh, which is expecting its 165m population to increase by nearly 100m in the next 60 years, is the most vulnerable large country, with 60% of its land less than 5m above sea level.

IndependentClimateChange.jpg The Independent

There is mounting evidence in India and Bangladesh and other low-lying countries that sea levels are rising faster than the global average of 1.2mm a year. Islands and coastal communities in the Ganges delta and the Bay of Bengal have recorded rises of up to 5mm a year. In Bangladesh hundreds of coastal villagers are forced to drink salty water as tides continue to rise and the sea intrudes on fresh water aquifers.

The conservative populists will shortly be saying that the upcoming U.N. summit on climate in Copenhagen designed to begin addressing problems like climate change refugees will mean the end of Australian sovereignty. They deny that the rate of change is significant, and has recently been caused by increased greenhouse gases from human activities, that the rate of change has become alarming and is probably unsustainable in the long-term.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:35 PM | | Comments (4)


Australia's climate change ambassador, Louise Hand says that it is time for "bold action'' and strong outcomes on climate change.

Behind the scenes Australia is acting a spoiler--to push for expanded offset loopholes for polluters, recognition of carbon capture and storage and lowering the ambition for an extended Kyoto protocol.

Australia is playing the same role as it did at Kyoto--fudging the figures around land use, land-use change and forestry.

Australia is a member of the "the circle of commitment" – along with the UK, US and Denmark. Their draft document, according to The Guardian, proposes that effective control of climate change finance is given to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions; people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The document is more modest. It says:

To enhance transparency and overview The Parties decide to establish an International Climate Financing Board under the UNFCCC to monitor and review international financing for climate action and in this context identify any gaps and imbalances in the international financing for mitigation and adaptation actions that may arise. The Board will consist of [x]representatives from developed countries and [y] representatives from developing countries.[Z] Representatives from international institutions will participate in the Board as permanent observers. Decision making will be by consensus. [If all efforts to reach a compromise have been exhausted and no agreement has been reached, decisions shall be taken by a two-thirds majority]. The UNFCCC Secretariat will serve as secretariat for the International Climate
Financing Board.

No mention of the World Bank.

the core issues appear to be primarily who cuts emissions most, how much rich countries pay poor countries and who manages any flows of money and monitors emissions.