Saturday, December 15, 2007

Breakthrough in Bali

After long delays and all-night negotiations, political leaders at the UN climate conference in Bali finally hammered out a deal that will launch negotiations to put the world on a path towards deeper emission cuts after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

It was a long, exhausting process that went 24 hours into overtime. But in the end, Canada and the U.S. bowed to pressure and agreed to stop blocking progress.

The final hours of the negotiations were extremely dramatic and often emotional. During one stalemate, a clearly frustrated and disappointed Yvo de Boer, the UN’s climate chief, broke down in tears and left the stage.

Talks were on the brink of falling apart after the U.S. stood firm in its position that a Bali road map must include a special exemption for weaker U.S. targets.

But a few hours later, after intense international pressure, the U.S. caved and agreed to move forward with the rest of the world. Everything was changing from one minute to the next.

Later in the afternoon, Canada stood alone with Russia in supporting an option for the Bali road map that ignored strong science. Country after country spoke out in favour of including the strong scientific language in the deal. Canada eventually backed down and changed its position so as not to block the overwhelming consensus.

Anyway, a deal was reached and the negotiations are over. That's really all that you need to know.

As for me, I've been up 40 hours straight and can barely think straight.

I think a celebratory drink at the beach-front bar in order. After that, I'm going to get a good night's sleep and enjoy three days of vacation in Bali. No email, no blogging and absolutely no climate change talk!

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