Keep your Eye on the Bali Conference
The conference of representatives of over 180 countries started Monday, December 3, 2007, and will continue for two weeks. The objective is to launch negotiations for the international agreement that will take over when the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
The surface layer of news coverage will be about the fireworks when the U.S. refuses to back carbon limits, but there's much more going on there. The outcome will affect our power prices and American exports -- i.e., U.S. competitiveness -- through 2050. Here are some links to help you follow the events.
December 03, 2007
Bali conference on climate changeUnited Nations Climate Change Conference web site with live and on-demand webcasts.
News and analysis12/3/07 "US wants to negotiate new climate pact" (AP) Let the fireworks begin, mates.
12/4/07 "Kyoto's Footsteps" (EnergyBiz Insider) Ken Silverstein's outlook: gradual, flexible policies.
12/4/07 "Merkel cabinet agrees on a comprehensive package to slash Germany's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2020 " (Deutsche Welle) Sends message to Bali; Germany's nuclear phase-out calls for some sacrifices.
12/8/07 "Environmentalists mark global Climate Day of Action" Protests in 50 cities, calling for major emissions cuts, in the middle of the 2-week climate conference in Bali.
12/10/07 "Will rich nations axe greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020?" (Reuters blog) Reflects a theme emerging from the conference -- action vs. delay. The US opposes certain quantitative guidelines for the negotiations, preferring to set those goals as part of the treaty. Is the US arranging for the hard decisions to come after Bush leaves office? China wants to delay some decisions beyond 2010, when the US will be under new management. Others support accelerating the new treaty's effective date from 2012 to 2010.
12/10/07 "America’s New Direction" (NRDC blog) In this relatively new blog by the policy director of the NRDC's Climate Center, David Doniger posts about his experience being in Bali for the conference: "I’ve been able to bring tangible proof that there’s new leadership in the U.S., that the Bush administration does not really speak for us anymore, and that America really is changing course." We'll see.
12/12/07 "Environmentalists join Bali climate conference on global emissions" Never mind them, the week goes to Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg and Gore. Message: Not all US leaders oppose mandatory limits.
12/13/07 "UN climate chief concerned over progress at Bali conference" The conference ends tomorrow, but the wrangling seems endless.
12/13/07 "Lame Ducks in Bali" (Wall Street Journal blog) "'There are two U.S. delegations here'...The result: America’s official negotiators are seen as an increasingly irrelevant nuisance, while the unofficial second-string team [Gore, Kerry, Bloomberg] is treated like the varsity, holding meetings with ministers and taking part in high-level strategy talks."
12/15/07 "The Start of the World’s Last Chance" (NRDC blog) "Country after country pounded the U.S. position, some angry, some imploring... 'Lead, follow, or get out of the way,' said Papua New Guinea in a new version of the mouse that roared. It was a rout. Less than an hour later, the U.S. gave up and joined the consensus."
12/16/07 "Voices from Bali and Beyond" (NY Times Dot Earth blog) Revkin has done a fine and tireless job of covering the conference from afar. Scroll down in that post to the comments, many of which are reports he compiled from other people at Bali.
And so ends the climate conference in Bali. After seeing how easily the US acted as albatross in these simple negotiations, I have a better appreciation for the significance of the IPCC reports on climate change, which were negotiated to consensus in much the same way but over a longer period.