That's odd, I thought. How come the shuttle bus from our hotel to the Bali International Conference Center isn't full? How come I wasn't waiting for ages in the baking heat to have my bag searched at the security check? How come I found a seat straight away in the computer cafÃ© inside the conference center?
"Ooh don't you worry dear", said Margaret, a seasoned veteran of climate conventions, "as from Monday you won't now what's hit you!!"
This is my first time at a COP (convention of the parties - it seems everything here is referred to by initials) and as a member of the first-ever World Future Council delegation to a UNFCCC (see what I mean) COP, I was really intrigued what to expect. As it happens, the most forceful thing to "hit me" as the first week draws to a close, has been the feeling of walking into an oven when stepping out of the convention center's air-conditioned rooms.
But there's something brewing in Bali; and, unfortunately, it's not a gentle breeze that would make walking even the shortest of distances bearable. No: as of next week we are about to be hit by the full gale-force of the world's environment ministers.
"That's when things really hot up", Margaret told me. Phew, not literally I hope - I didn't pack my shorts! (please feel free to ignore lame gag!)
The picture indicates just how hot are things going to get next week in Bali.So, the anticipation is building, especially among the NGOs. Will next week finally bring decisive action from those responsible? Are these storm clouds (pictured) gathering over Nusa Dua, or can we just expect more hot air from politicians next week?"
One thing is certain: if our wise leaders show as much initiative, awareness and desire as the youth delegations in Bali, then our planet need not worry too much. Over the past few days I have attended several side-events by youth organizations — a matter of great interest to the World Future Council as we have just launched our own youth campaign, KidsCall. We encourage young people from around the world to write letters, paint pictures, record songs, upload videos etc outlining their hopes and fears for the future with regard to climate change.
It never ceases to amaze me how clued-up and motivated young people are and this was certainly confirmed in the presentations here in Bali. From young Australians who shut down a coal-fired power station for the day to the students in America who organised a day of nationwide demonstrations in just 10 weeks and with no budget, the decision-makers can be in no doubt, young people care about the future of the planet. And if those politicians can take just a fraction of that enthusiasm and can-do attitude, then things really will hot up next week!
Image credits:Robert Turner, exclusive for WFC and TreeHugger