By Jo, communications officer, in Bali
I can’t believe today was only the second day of the conference, but then I couldn’t believe yesterday was the first. With over 2,000 journalists, 10,000 delegates, hundreds of side events, press conferences, meetings and stalls- there’s plenty going on all the time.
And it’s seriously hot. I am extremely grateful that I don’t have to wear a suit. And even more so that I’m not a Polar Bear risking his life to be here. P. Bear has been a huge hit, from a star turn at the Solar Festival to unveiling our thermometer yesterday and asking delegates today what is happening to his home, he’s by far the most popular member of the Greenpeace delegation.
The conference is spread across big distances, and the heat makes what should be easy 15 minute walks extremely painful. The UNFCCC have put on free bikes, which is fantastic. Ok, cycling for a long time would be more sweat inducing than walking, and I don’t fancy P. Bear’s chances on a bike, but they turn the walking distances into no time at all. And it’s great to see so many suits biking around.
[Photo: P. Bear with friend. Copyright Greenpeace/Paul Hilton]
Back inside the centre, one of my jobs includes going to press conferences. Yesterday I went to listen to what the US had to say. Nothing. No surprises there I guess, but despite knowing perfectly well the Bush administration’s position on climate change – it was the first time I had ever seen a live show of such incredible waffle. It was crazy – in the midst of the most important climate negotiations since Kyoto was agreed - to hear delusional beliefs in non-existent miracle technologies and assertions that voluntary targets are more effective than mandatory ones and blah, blah, blah.
I was actually impressed with the ability of chief US climate negotiator Harlan Watson, to say nothing when asked awkward questions. Which was all of them, given their pariah status. A status fully exposed by the laughter when he was asked if the US was feeling the isolation, now that Australia is all set to join Kyoto.
Our fantastic side event today, where we launched our proposal to reduce, and ultimately end tropical forest destruction, was the perfect antidote to the US’s posturing. The room was absolutely jam packed with people wanting to hear about real solutions. I’ll leave the details up to the team that made it happen.