Bali Blogging:- "Excuse Me Mister, Where Are You Going?"
Here's the second post by Robert Turner, World Future Council, "Live From Bali."
"Hello, where are you going? Where do you come from?" Everyone in Bali greets you in this way: the taxi driver, the shop assistant, and the little children on the street, even the heavily-armed anti-terror policeman. The welcoming pleasantries are always followed with a beaming smile, although it is slightly unnerving when this is accompanied by a machine gun.
But the friendliness of the locals got me thinking: where are we actually going this week? Will we get the pledge of zero emissions by 2020, as most of the NGOs here are demanding? Will there be an agreement on the transfer of technology to developing countries — an essential weapon in the fight against climate change? Or will delegates merely stick rigidly to their own agenda and not reach any compromise? At the weekend, the most immediate answer to the question was: outta here! As the high-level negotiations took a break at the weekend, the NGOs took over. There was a demonstration planned in the capital, Denpasar (pictured), "a cultural parade for climate justice", and at Kuta Beach we were urged to "take a stand on the sand". The aims were to take a little break, have some fun and recharge the batteries before the madness of week 2, whilst at the same time maintaining the pressure on the decision-makers to act now.
At COPs most people spend their time chasing rumours: who's said what, have they struck a deal etc. Yet one of the most stubborn rumours of last week was not actually confirmed until the weekend: the location of the NGO party! A must for any observer - the chance to let your hair down, network and of course, chase rumours!
For the three of us in the World Future Council delegation, the opportunity to chase our rumours later at night with a cooling sea breeze thrown in was more than welcome. Saturday was the hottest day by far and with more and more people filling the convention centre, the air-conditioning is having less and less effect and so standing around in the insufferable heat is a sweaty business!
So why are people getting hot under the collar? Well, the major rumours have come as no surprise but are still a cause for consternation. Canada, the US, Japan and Australia are apparently still refusing to commit to binding reductions in CO2 emissions and are even supposedly holding out for binding targets from developing countries! Unlike the campaigners on the beach, they don't seem to be making a stand to save the climate.
However, word is about that the new Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd is arriving anytime soon. Can the man who won the "climate change election" provide some leverage this week? If he can't, who knows where we'll be going in the end.
Robert's introductory post from Bali, Indonesia, is here.