What really happened in Bali
Andy Revkin has a number of letters from folk who were at Bali, and they are all interesting, but Eli would like to point you to two of them. The first (actually the fourth), and most informative, is from Peter Riggs, a trade policy expert, and has much of the detail about the negotiations missing in media reports. Let Eli whet your appetite
The other letter that caught Eli's attention was actually the first, from Thomas Goreau, a delegate representing a number of actors, including the
The first intervention in the Plenary dealing with Item 4 came from China. It was a ‘point of order.’ And while phrased diplomatically, it was basically a scathing attack on the way that the morning’s plenary process had unfolded, convening at a time when the G-77+China were still discussing alternative text elsewhere. On the dais (and projected onto the two acre-sized screens arrayed at the front of the hall) were Minister Witoelar and Yvo de Boer, puffy-eyed and exhausted. It fell to de Boer to answer, and twice during his short reply he had to stop to compose himself. Not out of anger, but from sheer exhaustion and frustration. He was trying not to burst into tears. He replied to the Chinese that he simply hadn’t been aware that the G-77 was still discussing Agenda Item 4 in side-meetings when the plenary had reconvened. His voiced drained out of him, and suddenly he got up and simply walked out of the hall, trailing a couple of very surprised aides. (Having composed himself—or possibly having laid down for a twenty-minute nap—he later reentered the hall and took his seat.)
And then the moment of truth: India presented the alternative text from the G-77+China. The essential point about this alternative text is that it takes into account “differences in national circumstances” amongst developing countries—that is, not just in relation to Annex I, but in relation to each other—but without the binding reduction commitments that the U.S. had sought from countries like India and China. From the developing world, this was seen as a compromise that indeed not all developing countries could be treated equally—the bigger emerging economies might have to do more—but it preserved flexibilities for them to pursue those commitments at a time to be worked out later—thus, the “Bali Road Map” over the next two years.
Delegations of Jamaica (my home island and a member state of the UN) , and of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (an Intergovernmental Organization representing almost all Caribbean states), while also representing the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States (as Coordinator of the Partnership), the Global Coral Reef Alliance (an international NGO), and Yayasan Karang Lestari (Protected Coral Foundation, an Indonesian NGO that runs the world’s largest coral reef restoration project).Goreau's letter is a white hot indictment, the temperate conclusion of which you can read below
Eli favors those who speak their mind.
That China and India, with their thousands of years of advanced civilization and science, should have fallen for this instead of leading the way towards cleaner sustainable development paths, is truly sad. And by placing their short sighted greed, ignorance, and stupidity first, the unholy polluting coalition of oil producers and coal burners has told the world that they don’t care who else they hurt by continuing their dirty addiction, killing reefs and drowning islands and coasts, and imperiling millions in poor countries.
Even worse, they have shown that they do not care for the rights of future generations, not even of their own people. That is why this shameful agreement is a capital crime against the environment that must be undone as soon as the Bush regime leaves office.