Crikey is picking through the WikiLeaks cables currently available, categorising them into different subjects and grabbing the most potent highlights from each, plus the reaction — if any — that embarrassed governments are giving.
For your perusal, here’s the juiciest of the cables discussing climate change, compiled by Bernard Keane:
Diplomatic Security Daily
Key point: Cyber attacks on US climate change negotiators – as covered in media reports, US Cop-15 negotiators came under “spear-phishing” attacks via email, sourced from China.
Ambassador to EU’s Meeting with EU President van Rompuy
Key point: Van Rompuy called the Copenhagen Conference a “disaster in which Europe was excluded and mistreated” and “an incredible disaster”; Mexico COP 16 “would be a disaster as well”, “proposed coming to an agreement between the EU and the United States during the possible upcoming U.S. – EU Summit in Madrid, and then approaching China to achieve a workable solution.” Partly blamed lack of single European voice.
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Netherlands: Support For Copenhagen Accord
Key point: EU divisions over climate targets. Dutch environment minister broadly happy with Copenhagen outcome, trying to engage developing countries. Climate negotiator Kaasjager “was taken aback by the sight of European leaders (e.g., PM Brown and Chancellor Merkel) hovering around the VIP room sofas where the Chinese, Indian, South African, and Brazilian representatives were consulting, trying in vain to get pull asides with the BASIC leaders.” EU performance poor. Very concerned about lack of follow-through from donor countries on climate financing will be used by developing countries to thwart further progress.
Two Faces Of Saudi Arabia’s Climate Negotiating Position
Key point: Saudi Arabia internally divided over Copenhagen and a climate accord – one view is it is a threat to the Saudi economy and climate change a fiction v. fear of being isolated and need to focus on renewables and nuclear for Saudi’s economic future. Saudi Arabia surprised post-Copenhagen by how many countries associating themselves with Copenhagen.
Deputy National Security Adviser meets with European officials.
Key point: Views of Copenhagen: “a good step forward” and “should not be wasted.” ; “while some Post-Copenhagen soul searching is warranted, officials believe it is necessary to focus on avoiding a damaging replay of division in the runup to Cancun.” China concerned about European consideration of carbon border taxes.
Meeting with French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo
Key point: Borloo says progress on an international agreement on climate change requires dropping a legally-binding treaty in favour of national commitments. Copenhagen process had been too Western and too European. Major emerging countries not prepared to cede sovereignty to a treaty, while EU members saw this as both normal and essential. But Copenhagen has established a possible global deal on emissions reductions by the United States, China, and Europe. A group of eight or ten: Germany and France for Europe, the United States, China, India, Brazil, Algeria and Ethiopia (and possibly South Africa) need to resolve implementation plan for Copenhagen.
Climate: Pershing And Hedegaard Commit To Close Cooperation
Key point: Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Pershing met with EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard: U.S- EU cooperation remains important, particularly in light of the statement issued by the BASICs following their January 25 meeting, agreed on the need to operationalize the Copenhagen Accord. Need to resolve outstanding issues relating climate financing.
Scenesetter For Secretary Clinton’s Visit To Berlin
Key point: German officials want strong U.S. leadership going into Copenhagen. Want a unified US/EU position towards the major emerging economies, particularly China and India, to urge them to commit to ambitious national actions. But Germans recognize the challenge of passing climate change legislation in the U.S. and have lowered their expectations for the possibility of reaching a legally binding agreement at Copenhagen – now seen as one step in a larger process – “may be preparing the German public for a less ambitious outcome.”
Sweden: Scene-Setter For Prime Minister Reinfeldt’s May 15 Visit To Washington
Key point: Sweden and Bush administrations on same page in relying on a technological panacea to address climate change.
The Swedes assume the EU presidency in the latter half of 2009 and have announced that climate change will be at the top of their agenda. Sweden considers US involvement in development of post-2012 framework crucial.
Despatch: “The Embassy’s initiative on intensifying collaboration with Sweden on alternative energy (known as “The One Big Thing” – OBT) has helped ease the path for the more constructive tone of discussions on climate change… The emergence of the new centre-right government — reflexively more pro-American and pro-business — has been fortuitous. PM Reinfeldt and his ministers want to work with us, understand well the need for technology-based solutions to energy needs, and recognize that important new opportunities exist for Swedish business which is on the cutting edge of alternative energy technology and research. There is both good will and the desire for bottom line results. The success of the “One Big Thing” will not ultimately depend on political good will, but on results.”
President Sarkozy’s First Official Visit To The U.S.: Policy Coordination With A Self-Consciously Independent France
Key point:Americans anxious to impress that US is a leader on climate change via technology investment.
Sarkozy has repeatedly called for US leadership on climate change. Bush administration keen to impress on Sarkozy that the US is a leader courtesy of investment in technology.
Despatch: “Areas of potential conflict include concerns that a failure for a broad adoption of similar carbon reduction schemes will put European industry at a competitive disadvantage and the possible French advocacy of a European imposed carbon tax on imported goods. Despite extensive U.S.-French collaboration in developing next generation climate-friendly technologies, the French also criticize what they see as U.S. over-reliance on yet-to-be-developed technologies (carbon capture and storage, second generation bio-fuels, and advanced nuclear) to address emissions. France is skeptical that China and India and other major emerging economies will take steps to reduce emissions unless the U.S. moves first. This is an opportunity to convince Sarkozy that we take this issue seriously and have a concrete plan to make real progress.”
President Bush’s trip to Paris
Key point: Bush Administration convinced of its leadership on climate change via investment in technology
Dispatch: “Ninety percent of the French public considers climate change as one of the gravest issues facing mankind and many still cannot understand why the U.S. failed to accept the Kyoto Protocol. When Sarkozy was elected President, he challenged the U.S. to assume a leadership role. Over the past year, the French have begun to appreciate our active engagement on this issue… his does not mean that the French share all U.S. positions in the Major Economies Meeting (on Energy Security and Climate Change). For example, they thought our medium-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target (capping emissions at 2025 levels) much too modest…. [must] sensitize Sarkozy and the GOF further to the seriousness and breadth of U.S. efforts.”
Beijing-Based G-5 Chiefs Of Mission On Various Issues
Key points: In the lead up to Copenhagen, China would not agree to targets on emissions but was willing to be constructive and would come to Copenhagen with a package of action items related to nuclear power, renewable energy and
reforestation. Wood said his impression was that China could be induced to do more on climate change.
Welcome To Berlin (For National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley)
Key points: US/German differences over approaches to climate change.
Dispatch: “Chancellor Merkel and the rest of Germany’s political leadership remain serious about pursuing aggressive international measures to meet the challenges of global warming. Merkel has made climate change a priority of her Chancellorship and enjoys the overwhelming domestic support on this. Merkel’s support for mandatory, targeted global limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and an international cap-and-trade regime reflects a deep-seated belief that only drastic, concerted efforts on the part of the international community can slow — and ultimately reverse — the human contribution to global warming…While the Germans have been willing to consider alternative solutions, such as new technologies for clean coal and renewables, fundamental differences in our approaches to the issue of climate change remain, and could lead to more public disagreement in the future.”