The Road to Bali: So much at stake

The next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/Kyoto Protocol will be taking place in Bali, Indonesia in December. Bali will determine the future international policy on climate change, and youth must make their voice heard. Between now and December, youth from across the globe will organize to bring a sense of urgency and rationality to the meeting. The future of the UNFCCC process is up for debate, and with it the future of international action to stop climate change. If the UNFCCC cannot respond to the urgent conclusions contained in the report of the IPCC, the ability of the international mechanism to respond to global challenges might become irrelevant.

The euphoria following the recent IPCC reports and the end of the current Convention Dialogue process point to Bali. Without continuous public pressure between now and December, politicians might forget that the purpose of the UNFCCC is the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, and not to develop a profitable, but useless, carbon market.

Failure in Bali could take us in the direction of other other ‘voluntary’ initiatives, such as the Asia-Pacific Partnership or a ninformal Emissions Trading Scheme linking carbon brokers outside of a multilateral deal. In addition, unless the world agrees on the pressing issues of adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer at Bali, vulnerable groups and communities will continue to suffer the impacts of the climate change without any source of support or form of redress.

The road to Bali is filled with challenges, meetings, hopes, and rhetorical diplomacy.With over 5 high level ministerial meetings on climate change between now and December, another session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on post-2012, and other informational consultations, it is imperative for global youth to prepare for long fight in Bali. More information will be shared on global youth efforts towards Bali.

4 Responses to “The Road to Bali: So much at stake”

  1. 1 Jesse Jenkins May 22nd, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    How can we help pressure the US delegation to protect our interests?

  2. 2 Adam Scott May 23rd, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    We are right on the edge again this year. For those who want to take action now, it is the perfect time raise awareness of the position the U.S. is taking prior to the coming G8 summit. The U.S. (with support from Canada) is pushing very hard to destroy a draft agreement between the G8 countries designed to start negotiations leading into the December meeting in Bali.

    If the fact that the US government was obviously sabotaging the future of international efforts was to gain serious domestic U.S. media attention, Bush might be forced to soften his stance. *media on this issue could be very important.

  3. 3 Josh May 23rd, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for post Juan Pa! It is so crucial we keep building momentum for Bali. What is the best venue for having the strategic Bali dialog? I feel like we need a game plan ASAP. Where is the funding coming from for youth engagement/transport? How will we internalize lessons learned from previous COPS, CSDs, etc? How do we explain to the rest of the world, that may not be as passionate about climate change as us, exactly what is at stake in Bali this December? How will we amplify our message from Bali to the rest of the world in addition to using IGHIH?

    I see Bali as a chance to broaden the debate. It is important we make our angle within these negotiations meaningful to their context. Bali is significant for a number of reasons. One is that being a country made up of thousands of islands, it is especially vulnerable to sea level rise and more intense weather behavior like what happen off the coast of Sumatra in 2004 and absolutely demolished Aceh among other regions. Bali has also been a “soft target” to terrorism twice recently, in 2002 and 2005, which begs the question, “What type of system drives people to such extremism, and how is climate change, and the solutions being set forth, related to that system?” I think it will be helpful for all of us to make an effort over the next couple of months to really understand free-market environmentalism and the assumptions that lie behind a carbon market. The Durban Group has published a number of very informative reports regarding this subject. There is an unimaginable pressure coming from big biz and energy industries to package and sell the carbon market at Bali as the panacea for climate change. There are people who want to profit from this crisis by putting a price on our atmosphere, our “carbon dump.” As they say in Bali – Ada gula, Ada semut (Where there’s sugar, there are ants!). We must all learn how to articulate why such a narrow “solution” will not only fail to mitigate climate change, but could actually cause more damage than good.

    The stakes are high in Bali. Climate change is finally mainstream, so we must make sure the world is watching during Bali. That means building the momentum now and getting people to start marking their calendars now. I think Cameron is planning on moving down to NYC to work from the GYAN office starting in July sometime. We need to partner with other organizations and start putting together funding proposals that show we have covered our bases and are serious about sending a 200-300-500-deep youth delegation to Bali come December. Let’s do it!

  4. 4 Anna Marzec Nov 18th, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I think we all should support the proposals of J. Mathews.
    See his article”Seven steps to curb global warming” in
    Energy Policy, 2007, 35, pages 4247-4259.
    The same tax (the same price !) for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted should be paid in all countries of the world.
    No trade of carbon dioxide limits !!!
    Global satellite monitoring of emissions over each country !!!

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About Juan

Juan Hoffmaister, originally from Costa Rica, is active young leader working to bring the environmental and development agenda together. He formerly served as youth advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and has represented youth perspectives on environmental negotiations worldwide. His work has been featured by NPR and other media outlets, and has recently completed a Watson Fellowship meeting comity leaders from across 4 continents responding to climate-induced disasters and water stress around the world through community-based adaptation. He has been an active advocate in UN negotiations since 2005, and he believes that the industrialized nations have the responsibility of helping the poor and vulnerable cope with the impacts of our changing climates, and he is currently working with youth from around the world in creating a new international agreement to keep the planet cool. On his spare time, he enjoys diving, reading, and drinking coffee. More @

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