Bali: a road map or a dead end?

Posted by bex — 12 December 2007 at 4:10pm - Comments

Last night, on the tenth anniversary of the most far-reaching environmental treaty ever signed, Ban Ki-Moon said:

"Today we are at the crossroads; one path leading towards a comprehensive new climate agreement, and the other towards oblivion."

And until yesterday, things were pottering along OK at the Bali negotiations. We were waiting for ministers from around the world to inject a sense of urgency into the negotiations, and to secure the much-needed commitments for industrialised countries to cut emissions by 25 to 40 per cent by 2020, and for all countries to halve emissions by 2050.

But overnight, things took a sharp turn for the worse. The usual suspects - Canada , Australia, the US and Japan - worked together to subvert the negotiations. Updates from colleagues on the ground in Bali started sounding more frustrated. One wrote:

"There is no anger - or fear, or compassion. It's just talking heads. They are deliberately working to remove the scientific imperative. In doing this they are risking the future of billions of people on the planet... The Bali Road Map is starting to look like a Bali Garden Path - or even worse, a dead end."

The problem hinges on the complex but crucial issues of technology transfer, adaptation and deforestation. Basically, these allow non-industrialised countries to both mitigate climate change and adapt to the impacts they're already experiencing and those still to come. Without them, non-industrialised countries are pretty unlikely to commit to trying to stop climate change.

In a meeting choc-full of geek-speak - technology transfer, mandates, protocols, framework conventions - it’s easy to get lost in the process and forget what's actually at stake here. Maybe delegates should watch this video (made by a Greenpeace supporter for our collaborative Message in a Bottle video), to remind themselves what it's all about:


You can take action on the Avaaz site, by signing a petition that calls on the US, Canada and Japan to stop wrecking the targets.

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