3 December, 2007
No, I have not become a climate disbeliever but as most readers of this blog will know I am very skeptical about the UN’s diplomatic climate circus. There are several structural reasons for this skepticism: the difficulties of negotiating and ratifying with over 180 countries, the absurd horse-trading (tit-for-tat compromises), the historical lessons learned from the flawed Kyoto Protocol, and last but not least, the carbon footprint of these mass events (15-20.000 people are expected in Bali).
There is also one more tactical reason that I have my doubts about this Bali meeting: the fact that it will be overshadowed by the stubbornness of the current US administration. There is no way the Bush negotiators will accept anything which would help the global climate debate go forward. And without full leadership of the US, there will be no serious change in the positions of China and India, two countries where the climate debate is completely overpowered by the need for more economic growth and energy supply security (to ensure that growth).
So if Bali will succeed in deciding on a roadmap, there is a chance that everyone will go home happy, spin a great success story to the media and then continue business as usual. On the other hand, a failure in Bali would send a strong signal to the big emitters that business as usual is no longer an option. I even believe a failure would be the wake-up call for a renewed impetus via the G8+5 process which could be much more effective once the new Democratic US President will be in power from beginning of 2009.
If such a new direction of climate diplomacy were to take place, I would also like to see that it starts looking at the other side of the ecological crisis: the future energy scarcity and its implications.
- Open Democracy: The accountability challenge for climate diplomacy
- Greenpeace: Guide to Kyoto, Bali, APEC, the G8 and Major Emitters meeting
- Los Angeles Times: Kyoto’s failure haunts new U.N. talks
- Reuters: Factbox: Main players at Bali climate talks
- Reuters: Chronology: from Live Earth to Bali.A year of climate gatherings