Bali climate talks back from the brink, but substance missing

US told to lead, follow or get out of the way during meeting sessions

Feature story - 15 December, 2007
The world turned here in Bali today as the conference booed and jeered US attempts to block a successful outcome.

The world was watching the politicians in Bali during the UN Climate Change Conference.

Having spent the two weeks of the meeting swinging a wrecking ball through the talks, with the able assistance of friends like Canada, Japan and Russia and complicit silence of Australia and New Zealand the Bush Administration went one step too far.

Developing countries had agreed to take measurable, verifiable and reportable action, linked to action by the USA who refused to accept the package, until the room erupted.

There were harsh words from many country delegates including Papua New Guinea who advised the US to exercise leadership or get out of the way, at which point the US delegation caved and agreed.

US tactics have weakened agreement

However, despite these dramatic events the entire Bali Mandate is weaker because of their tactics and the strong science that should be driving the process has been relegated to a footnote in one of the key documents.

There was some agreement reached on transferring clean technology to the developing world and providing money for those countries already suffering from the effects of climate change.

But reducing emissions from deforestation, a key driver of climate change, still has a long way to go, and a loophole remains that may allow some industrialised countries to swap binding targets for voluntary goals.

World must keep watching

The next round of negotiations is now well and truly underway but nobody can afford to take their eye off the ball over the next two years. Some governments here have given less than their best and it is up to all of us to keep the pressure up for a strong second phase of Kyoto and real action on climate change.

We will be keeping up the pressure with our actions on climate change. Here's a map of some of our climate actions over the last few months:

View Larger Map

You can keep up the pressure with these options below:

Take action

Take the 7 steps - make your own commitment to stopping climate change.


We don't accept money from governments or corporations -- and our financial independence is what allows us to pressure both. We rely on over 2 million people worldwide who give whatever they can. Please join us.