By Samantha Hawley for PM
ABC News Online, 5 November 2009
African nations have criticised Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at United Nations climate change talks in Barcelona.
The UN is holding final climate change talks in Spain before the big meeting in Copenhagen in a month's time.
In a sign of just how fractious the negotiations in Copenhagen could be, African countries walked out on the current talks.
A key African negotiator named Kevin Rudd, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his criticisms, saying the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by developed nations are too low.
It is a blow to those who are hoping for an international climate change agreement in the Danish capital.
Mr Lumumba Di-Aping has questioned just how serious developed nations are in committing to a binding legal agreement and sticking to it.
"The issue about whether there is a politically binding agreement and a legally binding agreement; I do not know of anything called politically binding agreement," he said.
"If there is anything that you know about politics and political manifestos is that they're worth very little.
"Tell me of any politician who delivered on his political manifesto. Was it Gordon Brown? Was it Kevin Rudd?"
Australia says it will reduce emissions by at least 5 per cent and up to 25 per cent if there is a world deal.
Mr Di-Aping says it should be 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
"You have to live to the ambition that saves the world. In Africa's words, it is 40 minimum," he said.
Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne says the African nations should be commended for taking such a strong stand.
"The Africans are doing absolutely the right thing. The developing world is suffering, people are dying right now," she said.
"They are saying it is time that we had science-based targets that give the planet a chance, that in fact give their people a chance for a start.
"And that is where the G77 naming Kevin Rudd as one of the people with a manifesto that is virtually meaningless demonstrates that Australia's targets are too weak.
"We have to lift our game and do the right thing and put 40 per cent on the table in Copenhagen."
But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong was at the talks and has put a positive spin on how things have gone.
"The talks in Barcelona were good. We obviously still have an enormous amount of work to do. This is a very tough set of negotiations," she said.
"We have countries who have very different views, coming from very different places."
There might be an enormous amount of work to do but there is not much time left.
Senator Wong says she is hopeful the Copenhagen talks will see a deal done.
"We've said for some time what we need is an effective political agreement at Copenhagen," she said.
"This is an opportunity we can't let pass and that's what the government is continuing to work towards.
"I think we all know that's still something we need to work towards. Again I say there is an agreement there to be had."