In the end, Bali delivered more than what was expected but not enough to slow climate change.
That will have to await hard bargaining over the next two years. If such an agreement materializes, it will be a feat. This will require accord between the world’s four biggest greenhouse gas emitters: the US, Russia, China and India. That’s no easy task.
A bigger problem, one less thought about, is how to achieve low-carbon growth. There’s no road map for that yet. The technological problem did find a mention at Bali, but negotiations centre around cutting emissions. But what after that? How do poor countries grow without high-carbon technology?
There are difficult choices for everyone, but more so for poor countries in Africa, and coastal and island nations. Growth-as-usual means extinction; low-carbon, slow growth means continuation of poverty and deprivations. There are no clear answers to that conundrum yet. The world has to find them, fast.