Posted by Arieta Moceica from Fiji at the Bali International Conference Centre
It is now 5pm of Saturday 15th December. The UN Climate Change Conference was scheduled for 3-14 Dec. The conference is still in session! Why are we still sitting here in plenary hearing the debate on the text a full day after what was to be the official end date?
In the face of heartfelt plea from the voices of those at the forefront of the impacts of climate change- namely, Tuvalu; Grenada on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and a few others, this morning the US continued to hold to its stubborn, non-negotiable stance which threatened to bring the meeting to a horrible end - ie. no mandate and a total waste of money, time, effort and the poltical will of industralised nations like member states of the EU. South Africa and PNG then made really strong interventions calling on the US to be the leader its been in other arena; PNG told the US that if it could not be a leader, then to get out of the way and leave the space to others.
Sheepishly, the US fell into line. As the room applauded, I did not want to waste my energy applauding because for me as a Pacific Islander, I ask " what took it so long to get to this point and why did it have to be kicked in the rear end to get in line?" I will wait to see what the US gets up to in the coming 2 years. It is the hope of those of us who witness first hand the impacts of climate change that as the will of the people in Australia changed the arrogant government of Howard; that the same will happen in 2008 in the USA.
In the last few minutes - the text adopted under the Kyoto Protocol had the ranges Greenpeace has been fighting hard for (25-40% reductions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels). Australia's support was particularly welcomed with rounds of applause. As a Pacific Islander, this gesture on the part of Australia is much welcomed and we look forward to more positive relations.
This session just ended is the start of a 2 year process which will negotiate the work for the second round of commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. What the Pacific islands need is strengthened capacity to be like Tuvalu, in its tenacity, in continuing to raise its flag and voice in the face of bullying tactics by big industrialised nations like the USA. What the Pacific islands need is real action against climate change. Now!