I disagree that climate change is 'ultimately a domestic question', though effective solutions certainly face domestic political barriers, such as those besetting President Obama in the US.
Such barriers cannot, however, be used as a licence for failure by leaders such as Kevin Rudd, who seems to prefer being seen to fail heroically as he feigns leadership while taking inadequate action and talking up the difficulties before him.
As you point out, other nations have shown some movement in these talks, and Kevin Rudd could offer true international leadership by advancing stronger, science-based targets for 2020. The test is whether such targets, if adopted by all developed nations, would be effective in limiting warming far below the 2-degree level at which we'd see far more of the catastrophic impacts we are already seeing at less than 1-degree warming above pre-industrial levels.
Our resilience in the face of the global financial crisis, our abundance of renewable energy, and our culpability as the world's largest coal exporter all argue strongly for our climate leadership. Kevin Rudd must overcome the self-serving climate scepticism of the fossil fuel industry, and of his own energy and resources minister, Martin Ferguson, and take a stand.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
In today's edition of The Age Shaun Carney assesses the progress of climate talks in New York, discussing movement by China, India and Japan, and the political challenges faced by US President Obama. I've started the ball rolling in the comments: