"To reduce China's emissions by 50-60 per cent and to do that in Australia as well - wherever you do it, at least in most countries - would be absolutely crippling."
To live with the effects of climate change would be far more crippling. Wheat, wool, tourism.. you name it, its affected by more frequent storms, unpredictable rains, and heat-waves. And the rate Australia's going we'll have international sanctions against our mineral exports before too long, for being nasty small minded pricks in international negotiations.
Australia could not match a country like Germany in cutting emissions from 1990 levels because of the shutdown of former East Germany's heavy-polluting industry.
What? I thought Germany also did a lot to meet their targets through wind power and energy efficiency. And they started working on it straight after they signed in 1997. Yes, Downer 10 years ago. 10 years in which Australia signed their intention to join, got an exemption to increase emissions, and then refused to ratify.
Mr Downer said if there was going to be a global agreement on climate change, it had to be multi-faceted. "It would be an enormous mistake to think that you could persuade the whole world to accept a one-size fits all approach."Yes, it does, and yes it would. The approach is called the Kyoto Protocol. It entered into force on 16 Feb 2005. It is an international agreement written between 1990 and 1997 with staged targets, "flexible mechanisms" (that's a legal name for a methodology devised by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Downer, it means "multi-faceted") and a thing called "cleaner development mechanisms" - which is how rich countries can reduce emissions in poor countries, and use them to meet their own targets.
We have found a way, you obsfucating liar, liar, liar pants on fire. Its the basic premise of Kyoto. That rich countries have had over 200 years of benefit from industrialisation and wealth from fossil fuels. SO WE GO FIRST. Get it? We work out how to do the reductions, then after a 10 year period, the "developing" nations do too. "We" being nations who are responsible for 55% of the world's emissions. At the time, China and India signed up to say "yes, our time's coming, we'll make cuts too when you have had a red hot go." They are just standing by their international agreements by saying they don't want to hurt their economies right now.
Mr Downer said China and other developing nations had a duty to improve living standards.
"You can't just say they should cripple their economies and people should remain endlessly in poverty. You have to find a way where China can gradually reduce its, if you like, CO2 emissions but at the same time its economy can continue to grow.