Disentangling the confusion of Bali

Tom Friedman is very confused about exactly what happened at Bali and why. So are M.I.T. science journalist fellows. So what are your chances of figuring it out? Well, they are a lot better if you read this excellent Bali debriefing by my friend Holmes Hummel, a Stanford Ph.D. and Congressional Science Fellow.

One interesting point she makes: Some media coverage left the misimpression that the Bush team opposed language that would have committed Annex I (i.e. rich) countries to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. But that isn’t correct. The language they vehemently rejected merely said this:

Recognizing that much deeper emissions cuts by developed countries will be required and that Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are considering the indicative range of emission reductions of Annex I Parties as a group of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020…

Yes, that’s right, the Bush team simply “did not want to ‘recognize’ what the Kyoto Parties clearly were considering.” Sad. So what happened?

Ultimately, the Bali Action Plan recognized that “much deeper emissions cuts by developed countries will be required to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention”, and included a footnote reference to a page number in an IPCC Technical Summary that advises:

“Under most equity interpretations, developed countries as a group would need to reduce their emissions significantly by 2020 (10-40% below 1990 levels) and to still lower levels by 2050 (40-95% below 1990 levels) for low to medium stabilization levels (450-550ppm CO2-eq).”

Nice job, Holmes.

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7 Responses to Disentangling the confusion of Bali

  1. Lou Grinzo says:

    Of course Bush and his administration tried their best to do nothing–it’s just another example of the “hard work” (as Bush is so fond of saying) that they’re eager to leave for the next president. War in Iraq? International reputation in tatters? Huge budget deficit? Tens of millions of US citizens without medical coverage? Meaningful energy policy? Meaningful environmental policy? Just add to the list, Bush has brush to clear on his land.

  2. The Bali targets are totally unrealistic. European countries and Cannada are no where near their Kyoto targets as it is. China and india are rapidly increasing their CO2 production. Some of the worst polluters did not bother to show up in Bali. We need to get a plan. It would be good to know how we are going to generate these reductions, before we start talking about targets.

  3. Ron says:

    Here is Maurice Strong’s comments on Bali:

    The United Nations Conference on Climate Change was only a necessary first step along what will be a rough road to agreement on the cooperative measures required to bring the risks of climate change under control. The last minute compromise to establish a continuing negotiating process was only reached on a weakened and watered-down basis, writes Maurice Strong, secretary-general of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and the first executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    In this analysis, Strong writes that we must treat the dangers of climate change as a security issue, the most important threat to global security we will ever face.

    The author calls for establishment of a Climate Security Fund of $1,000,000,000,000 to be financed by those countries that have contributed most to cumulative emissions. The Fund would be utilised to assist developing countries to reduce the growth of their emissions and adapt to adverse conditions resulting from already irreversible changes.

    The kind of climate security regime that would result from these and other indispensable measures goes well beyond Bali and what is considered realistic by most under today’s conditions, but are imperative if we are to secure the conditions that support life as we know it


    Maurice Strong is an interesting guy, ever Google him?

    Also, you might like this GloGov (Global Governance Project) site –

  4. Joe says:

    All of the worst polluters showed up. Who wasn’t there?

    It is expected that most countries will meet their targets.

  5. Beefeater says:

    “All of the worst polluters showed up.”

    Well you got that right Joe, they all showed up in their private jets and ran enough air conditioning to freeze meat. Did they decide what the “normal” climate should be? Did they explain past warming and cooling cycles? No, they just ragged on developed countries and had their greedy hands out for more money.

  6. tidal says:

    How does that work?