Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has questioned China’s energy stance and has request that China be considered a developing country in mandatory renewable energy target talks. Ms. Bishop’s challenge echoes the stand being taken up by Australia, which seeks to end differential obligations for both developed and developing nations with regards to climate change issues.
The situation which occurred at the Lima summit is also similar to the one in the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, which broke down.
Lima summit highlights Julie Bishop’s disagreement with China
In an interview, Ms. Bishop said that long-standing negotiating issues are no longer applicable and must be “overcome” so the Lima summit and succeeding conferences will prosper. Furthermore, Ms. Bishop said that it is “not appropriate” for China to claim that it is a developing country because it is the “largest economy in the world” and it “dwarfs” those of other developed nations.
Ms. Bishop said it’s time the developing-developed differentiation be stopped, and that there should be more focus on the “actual economic circumstances of each country.”
While Ms. Bishop and Australia have supporters at the Lima summit, there is opposition from the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, which include among its members India, Malaysia, Bolivia and China. According to this group, there is no need to change the categories, which is contrary to what developed countries want, and that is a principle of self-differentiation when it comes to meeting the emission-reduction target.
Julie Bishop says it is ‘not appropriate’ for China to be called a developing country
Ms. Bishop also said she would like to see an end to developed country donor flows and more towards intensive cooperation within the bloc. While steps are being taken to achieve this goal, there are still obstacles in the way. Australia is keen to meet its 2020 emission reduction goal, but it is meeting resistance from small island states, particularly over the proposal to include land clearing emissions in the target, a policy that was decided in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
If Australia is unable to do this, their 2020 abatement task will go up by 80 million tons of carbon. However according to Ms. Bishop, Australia is working towards finalizing an agreement and bent on getting other nations committed to legally binding emission reduction goals. However, Ms. Bishop admitted that there’s the possibility of a deal being ironed out.
Ms. Bishop said that the current proposals may be a “bridge too far” and that “many may not sign up” if the deal is legally binding. Because of this she says, the government is “balancing” the need for an agreement vs. one that is legally binding.
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Bishop emphasizes Australia’s commitment to renewable energy at Lima summit
At the Lima summit, Ms. Bishop pointed out that the Australian Government is reviewing the Renewable Energy Target, and that in 2001, the country was the first to set a renewable energy goal. To show Australia’s commitment, the target was extended in 2009. By 2020, Australia will generate 2% of its own electricity.
In spite of the uncertainty, Ms. Bishop says Australia is primed to reach 26% renewable energy by the target date. To fast track the process, Environment Minister Greg Hunt is trying to work out a deal with other undecided groups.