14 December 2010 – The Greens  said the better than expected result from the Cancun climate talks “significantly raises the stakes for climate politics in Australia” and places pressure on more transparent accounting for carbon forest stores which she said currently concealed the true state of play.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said that the Cancun agreements recognised that targets on the table are far too weak to keep global warming to no more than 2°C, and also note that 2°C may even be too much.

They rested on all countries, including Australia, “taking much more ambitious targets to next year’s negotiations in Durban, South Africa,” Ms Milne said.

“The world’s poorest countries made very significant concessions in these negotiations in order to keep the UN process alive.

“They also deliver the beginnings of agreement on financing from developed countries to the developing world, and how that financing should be allocated”.

Ms Milne said the Australian government had no choice but to lift the emissions reductions target to the Bali roadmap agreement of 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

She also called for more transparent accounting of “The most concerning signs from Cancun are that, once again, our planet’s forest carbon stores will be used to cook the books. The atmosphere will see the emissions, even if the national accounts don’t.

“Transparent accounting and the rights of indigenous people are critical and far from assured.

“Setting business as usual growth projections as ‘baselines’ for forest emissions accounting will allow countries like Australia to ignore any emissions from logging as long as we don’t log more than we currently plan to. Many millions of tonnes of pollution going into the atmosphere will simply be written off the books.

“According to calculations by environment groups, Australia’s already unacceptable 5 per cent target would be reduced to as little as 1 per cent if this accounting rort is accepted.

“Cancun has saved the climate negotiations, but now Australia and everybody else has to deliver the action we need to save the climate.”

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