Archive for category UN Climate Change Conference

Roadmap? Maybe we need a GPS instead!

The Bali Climate Conference nears its climax, and the pressure is building. Will the world’s governments achieve what they set out to achieve, that is a heavily watered-down document that sets out what will be discussed at the next conference, that is the setting in stone of goals for a global reduction in CO2 emissions?

Apparently not, or at least not if the US, sticking their same old guns, have their way. The key goal of the Bali meeting was to define a figure, a percentage figure representing the CO2 emissions reduction target. The US absolutely want to reduce emissions, but feel that defined targets using real figures are a bad idea. They say that we’ve missed all the other targets that have been set, so what’s the point in setting another? They also don’t think it’s right that developing countries don’t have to buy into these targets and, finally, they probably are looking to steal the thunder from this conference and transfer it to their initiative, announced in September by George Bush.

Fine. So let’s celebrate 2 weeks of meetings, speeches, discussions, and thousands of additional tonnes of CO2 generated by the 15,000 delegates with a document that says something like this:

“We, the undersigned, hereby agree that we have agreed that, the next time we meet - in 2 years or so, we will talk about the putting in place of a target which we will define as reducing the world’s CO2 emissions by an awful lot, or at least by as much as the Americans think is possible without being too exact, or putting anyone at risk of missing them, whilst at the same time feeling that reaching this target will certainly help us in our battle against climate change in the long run.”

Like the above statement, this is becoming a little Monty Pythonesque, and I feel like screaming ’stop, stop this is getting silly’. Everyone recognises that we need to take some tough decisions, and take them quickly. Everyone know’s it won’t be easy, but I have to agree with Stavros Dimas, the European Environment Commissioner: ‘What is a roadmap without a destination?’

It’s pretty difficult to get a group of countries to take a decision, but nothing would be worse than a group of countries who all recognise the urgency ending up not taking a decision.

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Bali Ha’i, Bali low…

Yes I know, the fictional island has nothing to do with the venue for the UN Climate Change Conference, but the title says it all. Will this meeting of 15,000 scientists, journalists, politicians and general hangers-on result in some genuine steps forward in the race to reduce CO2 emissions? Is the goal of having meetings in order to set out a roadmap on what to decide at the next meetings really a worthwhile, and will it even be achieved? Will the decisions made reduce CO2 emissions by more than the estimated 100,000 tonnes emitted by delegates just to get to and from the summit?

I’m afraid I’m not that confident, but I am watching closely to see what comes out of what is a crucial meeting. If I spot any exciting developments, I’ll let you know.

So far, I’ve seen more warnings from various groups on the seriousness of the issues, and, of course, the inevitable push back on proposed targets from the Americans. We are now reaching the more high-level talks - the ones that decide on what targets to talk about talking about next time, but that’s about it. No major announcements, no major things that we can start working on tomorrow, if not today.

Watch this space… but don’t hope for too much.

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