From Bali to Poznan: An assessment of Australia's response to climate change in 2008

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Journal Article
Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 2009, 26 (3), pp. 190 - 212
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Australia has moved rapidly from being one of the coalition of the unwilling (that small group of countries whose policy response to climate change was directed by a group of self-confessed climate change sceptics) to a nation that is beginning to take its responsibility to act on climate change seriously and is now playing its part in shaping an effective international response to climate change, but much still remains to be done. This article examines major developments in climate change law and policy in Australia in 2008. This includes the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), outlined in the recently released White Paper on the CPRS; the positions adopted by Australia at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in developing countries, held in Poznan, Poland; and the role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the post-2012 climate change regime. Major structural defects in the CPRS, such as the low medium-term target for emission reductions, the exemption of significant polluters from the CPRS's initial start up phase, the emphasis on the unproven technology of CCS both domestically and in Australia's negotiating stance in the lead up to the crucial Copenhagen meeting in 2009, as well as the failure to engage with the significant opportunities presented by energy efficiency and renewable energy, are all significant weaknesses in Australia's new found engagement with climate change.
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