Here we are again - the globalization bubble of hotels, hotels and western chain stores that is the very southern tip of the island of Bali. The military is also already here - cruising along the beach for our "security". Like many who will be heading to the global climate negotiations, I have been here before. Five years ago, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was being prepared here. A statistic that scares me. We have only little more than 5 years - around 7 - left to make global emissions peak. If I think about how little has yet happened on the commitments - meagre as they were - governments made at Johannesburg - I despair. But, hopefully, 2007 and climate change is different. Hopefully we can build on the momentum that has been built over the last few months. Hopefully, we can build on the science, the public pressure, the UN leadership and the fact that Australia is now joining the club of supporters of the Kyoto Protocol - the only legally binding international agreement to cut emissions we have.
It has been a busy year - even by the standards of the Greenpeace climate campaign. The road to Bali has been pretty torturous and long. Whether it was worth it, we will see in the next two weeks. We will see if governments agree more than a wish-list here. If they agree the action plan we need to save the climate.
We started the year with a positive message. First, we launched our energy revolution - a blueprint to cut emissions in the energy sector by 50% by 2050 through using energy more efficiently and massively investing in renewable energy. As the first report by the Noble Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change was negotiated, we warned the world against cynicism. We reminded them that "It is not too late" - if they act - and act now - to start an energy revolution. In April, the IPCC released the strongest warnings yet on the impacts climate change will have. In May, the IPCC caught up with our positive mesage from February and showed how we have to technologies and resources to prevent cooking the climate - if, and it is a big if, we have the political will. That all this science was starting to scare people, we could witness at the G8 summit in June. Climate change, which late last year was downgraded as an agenda item, dominated. The G8 - who are responbsible for over 80% of the emissions in the atmosphere today - produced mainly empty rhetoric. But they did clear the road for Bali - by affirming the United Nations as the place where climate deals need to be made and committing all countries to work constructively at Bali. Well, we shall see.
In August, the last formal climate negotiations took place in Vienna. We reminded bureaucrats there that you - concerned citizens - are watching . And, after some countries had taken really bad positions for the whole week, we did get a - relatively - positive outcome. Industrialized countries acknowledged that they will have to drastically cut emssions by 2020. There is a big difference between acknowledgment and action, I know. But it's a start.
September was another busy month. First, Australia was Pushing Export Coal at the APEC summit - resulting in nothing but a Sydney Distraction. Luckily, this was the last distraction from Howard - before he got voted out.
Then, the UN Secretary General took the initiative and brought more than 80 world leaders to New York to talk climate change. This was unprecedented and a big show featuring Arnie Schwarzenegger and all. Many of the speeches were mere rhetoric again, of course. But the meeting helped show that the UN is the place to negotiate climate agreements. Not the club of countries that Bush asked to come to Washington a few days later. Bush failed to invited countries like the Pacific islands - who will be hardest hit by climate change. What Bush did want at his "Big Emitters Meeting" was to set up a new, parallel process. He wanted working groups, a schedule of meetings, the whole shebang. He got nothing - just another protest and many, especially European leaders, confirming to the world's media that only binding emission cuts for industrialized countries work. Bush's "voluntary targets" approach is a road to climate hell.
In October, we launched our Forest Defender Camp in Indonesia. Forests are responsible for some 20% of global emissions - and deforestation is responsible for 85% of most Indonesian emissions. Which is why we are calling for a mechanism to end deforestation under the Kyoto Protocol. November, finally, the IPCC issued a final stark warning on what will happen if governments fail to act. Since then, we have been hitting the most polluting energy source - coal - all over the world. In Australia, and - yesterday in Indonesia, for example. So here we are. Near the beach - but stuck in meetings for the next two weeks. Waiting to see if governments will act - here. Please help by joining the global day of action next Saturday! We will keep you posted.