Kevin Rudd's $7b UN wrangle

Friday November 20 2009

Black is Newspaper report
Red is comments by readers
Copenhagen bound: Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will attend the UN's climate C=change conference next month. Source: Herald Sun
NEXT month Kevin Rudd flies to Copenhagen to help seal a United Nations deal to cut the world's emissions - and to make Australia hand over part of its wealth
So keen is the Prime Minister to get this new global-warming treaty signed that he's been appointed a "friend of the chairman" to tie up loose ends.
So here's the question: is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty that could force Australia to hand over an astonishing $7 billion a year to a new and unelected global authority?
Yes, that's $7 billion, or about $330 from every man, woman and child. Every year. To be passed on to countries such as China and Bangladesh , and the sticky-fingered in-between.
And a second question, perhaps even more important: is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty which also gives that unelected authority the power to fine us billions of dollars more if it doesn't like our green policies?
It is incredible that these questions have not been debated by either the Rudd Government or the Opposition, whose hapless leader, Malcolm Turnbull, on Monday admitted he did not even have a copy of this treaty.
Australia's wealth and sovereign rights may soon be signed away, so why hasn't the public at least been informed?
In case you think what I'm saying is just too incredible - too far-fetched - to be true, let me quote this draft treaty.
Here is paragraph 33 of annex 1, which has already been discussed at UN meetings involving Australian negotiators in Bangkok and now Barcelona . Brackets indicate phrases which still need final agreement:
"By 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be [at least USD 67 billion] [in the range of USD 70-140 billion] per year."
Plus, says paragraph 17 of annex III E, developed countries such as Australia should "compensate for damage" to the economies of poorer countries "and also compensate for lost opportunities, resources, lives, land and dignity" allegedly caused by our gases.
And here comes the bill, in paragraph 41 of annex 1 of this extortion note: "[Financial resources of the Convention Adaptation Fund"] [may] [shall] include: (a) [Assessed contributions [of at least 0.7% of the annual GDP of developed country parties] ... "
In fact, deeper in the draft our bill for our "historical climate debt, including adaptation debt" climbs to at "at least [0.5-1 per cent of GDP]"...
Wow. Let's do the sums. Australia 's GDP is about $1000 billion a year. So this demand for 0.7 per cent of our annual wealth works out to $7 billion a year, to be handed over to a new global agency of the United Nations.
That's your money, folks. Billions to be sent to Third World governments and authoritarian regimes to allegedly deal with a warming that actually halted in 2001. And all funnelled through the UN, which brought us such fast-money wheezes as the Oil-for-Food corruption scandal.
Never have the Third World's demands for the First World 's cash been so brazen.
But wait, there's more. Because never has the Left's mad goal of world government been so close, either.
This draft treaty, on which Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has worked, also calls for the creation of a new "board" of global warming bureaucrats appointed by the countries signing the Copenhagen deal.
The powers this board will have over us are astonishing. For a start, it will check our emissions, and could "impose financial penalties, at a minimum of 10 times the market price of carbon, for any emissions in excess".
Work it out: if we exceed our emissions target by, say, as much as Rudd warned two years ago we'd overshoot by 2012, we'd be up for a fine of $1.4 billion even with the very lowest carbon price under Rudd's plan.
Even more outrageously, this new world body could impose "penalties and fines on non-compliance of developed country parties" such as Australia that failed to honour "commitments to ... provide support in the form of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building".
All this gives a remote and unelected world body a huge and unprecedented say in how we run our own economy and our foreign affairs. For instance, any Australian government that decided to keep gassy coal-fired power stations running to avoid blackouts or to save Australian jobs potentially faces huge fines from foreigners.
Likewise, if it stopped handing over technological breakthroughs to a China or some African leader it no longer trusted, it could be fined again.
But wait, there's still more.
You'd think this draft treaty that Rudd has worked on would at least give us a say over how our billions are spent.
But no. UN bodies are already notoriously hard for any one nation to supervise or restrain.
Even the United States , the biggest donor of all, could not stop the corruption at UNESCO two decades ago, and was forced to walk out in protest. Nor could it stop dictatorships such as Libya and Cuba from later holding key roles in the UN's human rights bodies.
And with this new global warming body, the vote of the paying West will be overruled even more decisively by the spending rest.
Under this draft treaty, the new board's biggest spending arm - the "adaptation fund" - will be managed by a "governing board comprising
three members from the five United Nations regional groups, two members from small island developing nations and two members from the least developed countries".
That formula means the industrialised nations which pay most could hold just one of the nine seats on the body which will then spend their cash. Our cash.
That's the treaty being prepared for the Copenhagen meeting. That's the billions we risk having to hand over. That's the power we risk losing over our own affairs.
Now ask: why hasn't this been the subject of furious debate? Where's the Government? Where's the Opposition?
Well, here's Rudd's one response to this threat, given only this week: "At this stage there's no global agreement as to what long-term financing arrangements should underpin a deal at Copenhagen ."
That's a "trust me", with no bottom line. In fact, Rudd is already reaching into his - your - wallet: " Australia , once a global agreement is shaped, would always be prepared to put forward its fair share."But how much? Seven billion dollars a year? Five? Three? Hello?
As for Turnbull ... well, it's tragic.
Badgered by Alan Jones on 2GB on Monday on this very point, he said: "Of course the poorest countries are going to need assistance ... (But) there is no way that anything like this would be accepted without extensive debate."
So where is that debate, Malcolm? Why aren't you screaming from the rooftops for reassurances that our wealth won't be squandered and our powers handed over?
Just this week the European Union said it would pay its share of an
$82 billion cheque to this new body if countries such as ours come on board, too - so who's applying the brakes?
Not our politicians, for sure.
So if you oppose this surrender of our billions and our freedom, better start saying so now, before it's all too late.