World Climate Change Conference provides a road map to nowhere

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali ends on 14th December. If you want to see what is going on they have a web site at where you may read speeches, press releases and even see web casts. 

The participants are talking about agreeing a road map. A road map is not a treaty – in real terms it should be a direction which everyone must travel, because it sets out the only way to travel. A road map binds no one, because many people can travel in every direction, avoiding the road. Historically road maps are pious hopes, and have no bearing to reality. If all that we can get out of Bali is a series of pious hopes which do not relate to reality then we will be in a very bad way indeed. 

The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, said at the conference that the delegates must comprehensively agree on binding action to curb climate change, for the sake of those that succeed us. “We cannot rob our children of their future”, is what he said and I think that he has summed it up succinctly. Up until now civil servants have been trying to agree what started off as a new treaty but is now being down graded to a road map.

A first draft document has been worked on extensively by civil servants each looking after what they perceive to be their own country’s interests. The document’s text that is not agreed is set within brackets and there is a lot of that text within brackets.  

Today ministers, including our illustrious Hilary Benn of the famed leadership in all matters relating to climate change, (I do not see any of his policies being core in the new document) will sit down to try to remove all the brackets so that they end up with a “road map”.  If the brackets are not all removed the conference will be declared a failure. If they do get rid of the brackets everyone will declare the conference a success and jet back with their civil servants, helpers, hangers on, wags and souvenirs to their respective countries.

The conference may in these terms be a success, in the same way that a medical operation may be described as successful, even though the patient has died on the operating table.

2 Responses

  1. Governments are great at talking. We seem to debate and wait every year. When will our government set an example ?

  2. I fear that will be a very long wait indeed.

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