Small but essential steps

Small but essential steps


After 800 meetings...(at Bali)...(t)alks will continue according to a road map that will lead to Copenhagen in 2009, where the world will...agree to nation-specific targets... This may not sound like much...but...means ...a framework to work within... Bali was based on national delegates thinking globally, but acting locally... Like the Europeans, who having largely exhausted their own coal deposits...piously demand fossil fuel-rich nations such as the US and Australia adjust their economies... As with many other developing countries, China argues it should be allowed to “catch up"... This argument relies on mock morality...(And) the US won’t accept (it), at least while George Bush is President... (T)he brutal truth is that global warming won’t be contained unless China and India play a big part... Market, not manifestos, is the way (to) reduce greenhouse gases.

Route map from Bali


The deal...will not on its own cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it is an important milestone. America..., the world’s heaviest emitter of carbon dioxide, refused to agree to EU demands for targeted reductions of between 25 and 40% by 2020... (A) regrettable shortcoming, but no reason to call it a failure... Washington’s agreement to mandate UN-led negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto protocol, which (it) has yet to ratify, is an encouraging first step... By supporting the Bali text it accepted that...the planet could be in serious trouble unless emissions are cut. Such an endorsement would have been inconceivable only six months ago. China, soon to overtake (it) as biggest emitter and long held to be indifferent to climate change, was also a positive force... Only by pledging deep cuts in its emissions can the US hope to persuade...China and India...

Disappointments on climate


In Bali...America’s negotiators were in full foot-dragging mode... In Washington, caving to pressures from the White House, the utilities and the oil companies, the Senate settled for a merely decent energy Bill instead of one that would have set the country on a clear path to a cleaner energy future.

The news from Bali was particularly disheartening... From the US the delegates got nothing, except a promise to participate in the forthcoming negotiations... Despite pleas from their European allies, the Americans flatly rejected the idea of setting even provisional targets for reductions in greenhouse gases. And they refused to give what the rest of the world wanted most: an unambiguous commitment to reducing America’s own emissions. Without that, there is little hope that other large emitters, including China, will change their ways.

Below expectations


The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and a climate agreement to replace it, the Bali Roadmap, has been put together with much difficulty... Still, (it does) not meet with expectations. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change initially suggested reductions of between 25 and 40% of 1990 rates by 2020. It was the least that could be done... The US, Canada, Japan, and Russia all opposed obligatory reduction goals and timetables until the very end... (They) even rejected a compromise that would reduce emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2000... The US is trying to create a global order on climate change that is self-centered, as are China and India. While the roadmap has developing nations participating, it calls for voluntary reduction goals. You wonder how many countries are going to set goals they will act on.