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Developing nations blame Australia for loss and damage talks ‘walkout’

Delegation accused of wearing t-shirts and “gorging on snacks” during critical UN talks

Soure: Flickr / pallotron

Source: Flickr / pallotron

By Sophie Yeo in Warsaw

Australia’s team at UN talks in Warsaw have been accused of lacking respect after delegates turned up to critical discussions wearing shorts and teeshirts.

The Australian delegation turned up in casual attire and “gorged on snacks” during negotiations on whether developed states should make reparations to vulnerable countries as the impacts of climate change become more severe, according to a spokesperson for CAN International.

Their behaviour caused over 130 developing nations to abandon discussions on the controversial issue of climate compensation at 4am last night.

Representatives from developed countries also appear less than impressed. EU negotiator Paul Watkinson tweeted: “It is one thing to be tired in a negotiation meeting, another to turn up in pyjamas – respect matters”.

According to reports, the negotiators blocked any progress on a new ‘loss and damage mechanism’, which many developing countries are pushing as a non-negotiable element of the climate talks which are gathering pace in Warsaw.

The late night talks were developing constructively, sources say, until the Australian delegation blocked progress on the new document currently being thrashed out behind closed doors.

The G77 alliance, which includes India, Africa and the small island states, staged a walk out of the negotiation when Australia refused to agree to a functioning text.

“The negotiations were actually going on reasonably well. They were doing it in earnest,” said Saleemul Huq, an expert on loss and damage at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

“It went on into the night, well into the early morning, discussing things in what I think was a spirit of cooperation. But then at the end, the Australian delegation just put brackets around everything. All that negotiation went to waste.”


Since Tony Abbott was elected prime minister in September, Australia has faced heavy criticism for its climate change policy.

The country has made few friends at the current UN negotiations. While the rest of the world works towards a deal to cut global carbon emissions, Australia has been working on repealing its carbon price. The government has not sent any ministers to the conference.

It has so far won half of the illustrious “Fossil of the Day” awards, handed out on each day of negotiations by the Climate Action Network to the country who has done most to block progress at the UN climate negotiations.

Loss and damage

The issue of loss and damage is threatening to overshadow the remaining days of the negotiations, with developed nations refusing to budge on the issue.

Huq indicated that this could provide a tough negotiating point in the final ministerial discussions, and that if developing states “don’t get what they need then they are prepared to go back from Warsaw with nothing.”

Developing countries want to create a new mechanism to deal with ‘climate compensation’, while richer nations such as the US and the EU want to weaken these proposals.

“We don’t accept the argument on compensation. We never have and we’re not intending to start now,” said Ed Davey, the UK’s lead negotiator in Warsaw.

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  • CorBlimeeCobber

    So now we know … degenerate Aussies – keen on exhaling hot air from each orifice

  • greg101

    Sorry guys, no blank cheques, find another sugar daddy. Try Barak or Davie and see how serious they were about this all along.

  • Rob

    Pardon, rest of the world. Australia is experiencing technical difficulties. Best to kick us out for a while until we can sort out our bozos and get back to you with some people who are able to comprehend science and have a soul. Our top nob can’t even read an electricity bill so it may take either a long while if his condition is contagious or a short while if he chokes on his shoes. Carry on with the good work, we’ll meet you at the top of the bell curve.

    The Readers.

    • Chris

      Couldn’t agree meore, Rob.

  • Sam

    Hard to believe anyone would show up in shorts and tees given the temp in Warsaw this week is around 6C. Given that information I tend to believe the reporter is not being 100% honest here. I also think this whole climate compensation thing is nonsense.

    • Art Salmons

      Did you just use logic and common sense? How dare you, you planet hater!

  • Stevo

    disgusting way to represent this country on the international stage. The sooner everyone realizes climate change is REAL and is the biggest single threat to our being the better. The cronies and uneducated that don’t believe in it have fun explaining to your grand kids that live in boats that you had a chance to do something and didn’t!!

  • Michele

    I’ve never been so ashamed to be an Australian as I have over the past few months. Not only is our country becoming a laughing stock and hated around the world due to our incompetent and insensitive government, but also because of the number of racist and hateful, uneducated people living in it. One only has to see the comments made here, on other blogs, Twitter, etc. to see what a hateful, selfish population we have growing here.

    • GoldFish

      Don’t be ashamed. It’s not just Australia. Every country has them. But please keep fighting them, for all our sakes. Canada’s PM Harper is even worse than Abbott. He actually appointed a Creationist as Federal Minister of Science and Technology.

  • Toby Lunn

    we are a nation of ignorant redneck hicks, so they represented us very well

  • philip

    Concern over massive changes to the climate occurring right now, the legacy of the industrial revolution, is hubris? I would have thought hubris is distinctly the quality of those who deny the overwhelming certainty of science.

    • Glenn Turton

      yes Philip but that is exactly the way Conservative parties are playing the game. Using rhetoric which could describe themselves but delivering it against their opposites. And unfortunately effectively with those who aren’t prepared to read beyond 3 word slogans

    • schmuck281

      Hubris, hubris, hubris. Are you impressed yet? I used a Greek word three times, which is oe more that you did. That means my argument wins! Oh, wait…I didn’t make one. No Matter. I used the magic word, so I win.

  • Peter Laux

    Well done Aussies, to be on the ‘shit list’ of the parasite class is high praise indeed.
    If you had of agreed they wouldn’t have cared if you turned up naked, but dare disagree & they turn into fashion police !
    It is fantastic that they are so enraged by ….. casual attire.

  • Gerry

    What specifically about Australia are you proud of right now?

  • Gerry

    Please explain which aspects of climate change have been deliberately falsified. Also who is profiteering from climate change and by how much. Feel free to use scientific terms in your response.

    • Dene Charlesworth

      It’s a bit hard to prove the non-existence of something. When you are claiming something exists, like AGW, you need to supply the proof. What have you got Gerry & no links. In your own words please.

      • RealityBites

        It’s not about proving the “non-existence of something”. What a cop-out. The hypothesis you are supporting is that (presumably) the increase in global average temperatures over the past couple of centuries is not due to anthropogenic causes. The obvious “smoking gun” is the massive increase in carbon dioxide, a known greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution began. Carbon dating proves that the bulk of this carbon comes from fossil sources due to its great age. Climate modellers can explain the temperature increases from models based on greenhouse effects, and including other atmospheric influences. Not perfectly, as it’s very complex to model due to many feedbacks and system sensitivities, but in broad brush they’ve got it right.


        What have YOU got?

      • Valour

        you could start here, google must be too hard for you to use. http://350.org/en/about/science

  • Gerry

    “Man Made CO2 based climate change is a crock”. You base that statement on what evidence?

    • Aussie feminist.

      None Gerry. They never do have credible evidence for their climate change denying theories, only those put forward by the 2% of Climate Scientists who don’t support it who strangely enough usually have links or get paid by fossil fuel industries.

  • SpetznazGeneral

    Wow, some people are “Proud”, to be Australian because we have blocked good climate change policy. These guys are UnAustralian and should be kicked out of the country along with any other Tony Abbott dick sucking prick that currently resides in this country.

  • DIAF

    Good to see the climate change deniers are out in full force.

    When your descendants are burning, blind and dying I hope they remember your wisdom when you had a chance to help shape the future.


  • LIZ

    There have already been five extinction events or biotic crisis on planet earth due to severe environmental or climate changes. If Countries and global militaries do not work together to save the environment, we could all face extinction due to top soil lost, food and fresh water termination, and a brand new era of both huge and tiny sea creatures, some of them are already coming out of the water. Is anyone reading the reports from highly respected world science agencies? It does not matter if people are “mothers, CEO managers, mobsters, or military elite…we will all die when there is nothing TO EAT!

  • Glenn Turton

    I see the flat-earthers are out in abundance here. So many so proud of so little.

  • Bearsmum

    Keep trying folks – but there are too many people who just do not consider wealth redistribution to be the answer to any supposed climate change. And sadly for you, those people are the ones currently generating that wealth. Do you not understand this?

  • Paul

    Joyce, that is so ignorant. Sorry but it is. Try to educate yourself a little, and understand that, no matter what you think of climate change, we live in a global community and cannot succeed without building relationships with others. The UN is a hugely important part of that – Australians may not care (unfortunately) but when our Government reps show such ignorance and disrespect, it damages us. As for climate change being a scam, you are wrong, and a victim of lies which are spun by greedy people who care about bothing but their own personal interests. Like i said, educate yourself.

  • Valour

    Start here Dave. http://350.org/en/about/science I don’t know how you can think that the releasing of Carbon into the atmosphere in a few hundred years, that took the Earth millions of years to sequest is a crock of shit. Now you might argue that this carbon was in the atmosphere previously, but the change occurred over millions of years, and allowed time for evolution to occur. Evolution can’t change at the speed we are releasing CO2. But then, you probably don’t believe in evolution either.

  • Master Cylinder Pants

    Right wing Gov’ts in Australia have focused on bilateral international relations (i.e. stuff that works) and treated the UN as it should be treated – as a joke (hence T-shirts and thongs). The IPCC is to climate what the Durban Conference is to human rights. Australia has built one the best and fairest modern societies and we don’t need to be lectured to by a bunch of snooty Europeans, kleptocrats and dictators.

  • schmuck281

    According to Scientists we emit too much carbon dioxide which
    is driving up global temperatures. (Except for the past 15 years.)

    So what we need to do is cut our Carbon footprint down. In another comment by someone calling himself Philip referenced the Industrial Revolution as the turning point.

    So, if Philip is correct, and he is a GW believer and thus, incapable of being wrong, I think, we need to cut our Carbon footprints down to Pre-Industrial Revolution Levels.

    OK, so now we have a goal, preindustrial revolution carbon footprint.

    How shall we go about achieving this? Why, by living at preindustrial revolution level.

    I’m not sure about this, but we’ll have to start somewhere. Most of the people opposed to this are conservative, (small c) and if they’re Americans they are probably armed. So we’ll just leave them alone for the time being.

    We’ll leave the Muslims alone too. They’re really touchy and most of them already live a pre-industrial revolution levels.

    So the logical people to start with are the Progressives. I mean, they oppose oil and worry about Greenhouse Gases, so they shouldn’t have any problem “walking the walk” so to speak.

    So all the Progressives will be moved to pre-industrial revolution housing and maybe given a garden plot so as to raise organic free range carrots and stuff.

    So we’ll let them practice their pre-industrial revolution lifestyle for a year or so and see if it results in a measurable decrease in global temperatures.

    After a year we can try it for another year and invite the conservatives to join in. I would force them but, as I said before, many are armed. (Damned prickly people, those conservatives. (small c)

    We can do this every year until everyone is living in pre – industrial revolution splendor, or the people who go to ask the (small c) conservatives have all been shot.