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Greens dub Govt climate plan a tragic failure -

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ELEANOR HALL: Now for more on those climate change negotiations. The Greens are calling it a
failure but others are more optimistic about Australia's latest proposal to help push international
climate change talks to a resolution.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, has outlined the proposal she put to a Major Economies
Meeting to get developed and developing countries to sign up to a deal to cut carbon emissions. The
Greens say it will let developing countries off the hook but others say it is a workable proposal.

Chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis, reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Penny Wong has a plan to break the deadlock and give countries a framework for
agreeing to cut carbon emissions. But Bob Brown doesn't like it.

BOB BROWN: It is pretty awesome failure politics that the Rudd Government has gone to New York and
Washington and Pittsburgh with and will go to Copenhagen with and now they call it a circuit
breaker. Breaks more than a circuit.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Government's plan, outlined to the Major Economies Meeting along with a plan
from South Korea would have developed countries sign up to economy-wide emissions reduction targets
but let the developing nations specify the steps they'd take to mitigate climate change such as
renewable energy targets or reduced deforestation. The commitments would be legally binding.

Senator Wong has told Radio National this morning, the proposal is flexible.

PENNY WONG: What we recognise is a one-size-fits-all is not going to get the agreement we need. We
simply won't get the broad participation from major developing economies that the climate needs and
that Australia in terms of our national interest needs.

So what we have put forward is a proposal that seeks to try and capture the different types of
actions and commitments that developing countries could take in an effort to broaden the nature of
the agreement.

LYNDAL CURTIS: But the Greens leader says it lets developing countries off the hook.

BOB BROWN: But now all of a sudden we get Penny Wong and Kevin Rudd saying well we are no longer
going to want binding action from them. We'll see if they can deliver what is most comfortable for
them because that is going to allow us to negotiate a deal of low targets which is going to
actually be a recipe for failure.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Senator Wong has received some support. John Connor from the Climate Institute says
the proposal could be a way to allow all countries in.

JOHN CONNOR: But this does provide a way which enables countries that haven't signed under the
Kyoto framework of actual emissions reductions like the US and also engages developing countries in
a slightly different way which can maybe deal with issues that for example China has had.

But again, the devil will be in the detail but we do think it is a constructive proposal worthy of
full consideration.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And he says it uses a model already in use in world trade talks.

JOHN CONNOR: And I think key to this is actually engaging finance and trade ministers. It is vital
that they see that this is an economic challenge at the heart of competitiveness of a range of
countries to come but also in building the opportunities that can come from a low-carbon global
future.

So this is a way which speaks to their language, I guess.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Penny Wong says there's still a long way to go before an agreement can be struck but
she believes a successful outcome is now in the hands of the leaders.

PENNY WONG: We certainly aren't at the point where we can have an agreement now. The question is
whether political leaders will have the will to push an agreement through between now and
Copenhagen because there is an agreement there to be had.

Ultimately it is a question of political will - whether leaders can come to the table and get that
agreement.

LYNDAL CURTIS: While Penny Wong is dealing with a problem on the global stage, her Opposition
counterpart is dealing with a much more personal one.

Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb announced on the weekend that he is suffering from a depressive
illness called diurnal variation that affects him particularly in the mornings and is stepping down
from his frontbench duties for three months while he undergoes treatment.

He says since he went public he's received a lot of support including calls from Penny Wong and the
Prime Minister. He has spoken on Melbourne radio 3AW about a condition he says has affected him
since childhood.

ANDREW ROBB: In form two, you know I'd be walking, we lived Reservoir and I'd be walking to the
station to catch the train to go to school and at quarter past seven and I can remember clearly,
I'd be looking at old fellas who'd retired, you know, you would see someone walking past and I'd be
there wishing that I'd gone through life and I had reached their stage.

I must say when I got to my 50s, I found that the little black dog that had visited me for two
hours every morning all my life, you know, started to get a bit bigger and sometimes lasted longer,
say three or four hours.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He says he found ways to cope with his undiagnosed condition as did his family.

ANDREW ROBB: You develop strategies but you know, I'm never good in the mornings and sort of
long-standing family joke that Maureen my wife would not discuss the state of our marriage before
8.30 and the kids wouldn't ask for money.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Mr Robb is now receiving treatment but he says it will take some time to find what
works and turn round 50 years of body chemistry. He says going public has made it easier. He
doesn't know how the treatment will go and whether it will help him cope with what is a very busy
workload. But Mr Robb says he still has a passion for politics and wants to continue.

ANDREW ROBB: You know, gosh how good would this be. If I could be better than I've ever been so,
you know, so watch out.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Liberals Andrew Robb ending that report from Lyndal Curtis.