Over the course of the last two weeks, nothing has happened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Negotiations haven’t occurred. There have been no heated policy debates. 10,000 delagates from 190 countries did show up, but they’ve just been sitting around, twiddling their thumbs. The press conferences held by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer have all been boring, uninformative things. All in all, no real news has come out of Bali over the last two weeks.
After all, it’s hardly news to hear that the governments of the United States and China are doing everything they can to eviscerate meaningful international action on global heating.
China has again rejected mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cuts even though they’re the largest or second-largest CO2 emitter in the world. The United States proposed text for the agreement, introduced late at night the night before the conference closed, “uses phrases such as ‘as appropriate’, ‘depending’ and ‘may’ in reference to emissions cuts, which would effectively make any agreement reached voluntary.” Japan and Canada have joined the U.S. in rejecting numerical targets that the European Union and most other nations want included in the Bali roadmap to the ultimate Copenhagen treaty in 2009, and the U.S. is also refusing to act unless China and India do as well.
And as all of this was happening in Bali, the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit released data that showed that, globally, this year was the seventh hottest on record and that the top 11 hottest years (global average) have all occurred in the last 13 years. This is remarkable given that this year had a cooling La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean and given that the North American temperature dataset had been corrected slightly earlier in the year.
OK, so there was some news out of Bali over the last two weeks: Al Gore showed up and accused the United States of being obstructionist:
“I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by the diplomatic niceties,” Gore said in an hour-long speech on Thursday evening. “So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.” (source)
And the White House struck back at Mr. Gore for not being constructive.
Oh, wait – that’s not really news either.