It should come as no surprise that bringing the nations of the world together in one place to discuss climate change – or anything – will result in bickering.
And so it goes at the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in Bali. Of particular contention last weekend was a plan between rich and poor countries to open up trade of “green goods” such as wind turbines and solar panels.
Developing countries fear the US/EU plan is “a protectionist sham”. In particular Brazil ‘expressed concern’ that ethanol was not on the list of green goods exempted from tarrifs.
Okay, so that isn’t much a breakthrough. But perhaps this is:
On Monday evening an agreement was reached for a new entity to oversee the “Adaptation Fund” set up in 1997 along with the Kyoto Protocol to help the world’s most vulnerable (and poorest) countries implement adaptation strategies to deal with climate change.
Up to now the Fund had been under the authority of the US-based Global Environmental Facility, but not much had happened in terms of actually funding any projects since the US is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
The agreement reached on Monday is to have the Fund administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is good news for developing and small island states, since these are the most vulnerable and least able to deal with a rapidly changing climate.
But what about the leaders of the world coming together to forge a cohesive policy to curb global greenhouse emissions and deal with climate change at a global level?
UN leader Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly called for immediate and decisive action, calling climate change “the moral challenge of our generation” and that “Succeeding generations depend on us. We cannot rob our children of their future.”
He also cautioned not to let expectations run too high for the Bali meeting that ends on Friday, saying this is the start of what will be intense formal negotiations ending in a final agreement to take effect in 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire.
From the bickering, it is hoped, real progress can be made.