4am, Copenhagen.

“Given where we started and the expectations for this conference, anything less than a legally binding and agreed outcome falls far short of the mark.”
– John Ashe, Chair of Kyoto Protocol talks.

THIS is it? After two years of negotiations since the Bali Roadmap, 4 countries – the US, China, India and South Africa, have presented an “accord” that delays real action on climate change.

There are 192 countries here at the negotiations. All of their survival – and all of ours – depends on the world’s response to climate change.

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Today, humanity, all species, all nations and all peoples’ survival hung in the balance as negotiators bargained over targets, finance, ambition and ultimately, moral questions about what kind of world we will live in in 2050.

But tonight, 4 countries seemed to forget all that, and instead reach for the familiar frames of short term-ism when they reached a private deal, outside of the UN process, that doesn’t meet even the weakest of expectations going into Copenhagen two weeks ago. This deal is not based on climate change science and is not legally binding.

The proposed accord is an abject failure to grapple with the biggest issue that humanity has ever faced as one global community. It gives a nod to an inadequate target to reduce emissions when it says it “recognises” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C – but it does not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal. It sets a target for the world to have reduced emissions 50% by 2020, but does not have any short-term or 2020 targets. This is despite the fact that we now know global emissions must peak by 2012 at the latest and then decline if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

It’s almost 4am here and the countries have finally gone into plenary after regional meetings, but Tuvalu, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Cuba, Equador, Bolivia and Venezuala have all spoken out against it – so no-one knows whether the proposal will be agreed to and it is certain that the draft will be changed before the night is up.

Kevin Rudd has said this is a “step forward” – but in essence it’s just a deal to delay the real deal we need, and in that sense it’s a step backwards. It ignores recent climate change science, which says we need to stabilise emissions at 350 parts per million, or 1.5 degrees of warming, if we are to avoid runaway climate change. It is not legally binding. It undermines the UN process. It is deeply, heartbreakingly disappointing.

Our leaders need to step up. Hundreds of young people are holding a peaceful protest outside the Conference Centre in below zero temperatures (and don’t forget, it’s the middle of the night). After two years of negotiations from the Bali roadmap to now, and with 120 world leaders in Copenhagen, this is unacceptable. They need to do better. It’s not too late – it’s never too late.

We know that Kevin Rudd was one of the 25 countries who was consulted on, and lent support to, the deal. Tony Abbott has already come out with his predictable lines, to hide the fact he doesn’t have a climate policy of his own. The Government needed to do a lot more here. Rudd has STILL not put his final targets on the table here.

Our message? Not done yet. Our leaders are not done yet on getting a real climate deal – and our movement is not done yet either. We will not give up until we get a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty. Keep pushing… we have unfinished climate business here.