The entrance to the conference. Photo by Maria Cordeiro.
World leaders from 191 countries have convened in Bali, Indonesia for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, a two week event aimed at setting the agenda for a plan to combat global warming. In a move illustrating that global warming is increasingly recognized as an economic issue, not just a fringe environmental cause, the host country, Indonesia, invited the world’s trade and finance ministers as well as the environment ministers, the usual cast of characters at such a conference.
Around 10,000 people from a wide range of backgrounds – business groups, civil society, academia, etc. – have also flocked to the small island, participating in a variety of side events on topics like technology and governance and their link to fighting global warming.
The spotlight for Bali includes an agreement to launch negotiations for updating and extending the Kyoto Protocol, set to expire in 2012. Expectations are running high. Will the United States take a new stance now that the US Congress is shaping climate change legislation? Will the sudden political shakeup in Australia, a country now preparing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, increase the pressure on the US to do so too? Will developing countries, including China, one of the largest contributors to global warming, agree to cut back their emissions? And above all, will there be a new treaty to provide a long term response to climate change?
Stay tuned: for the next week I will be in Bali, attending side events and talking with experts as I report the latest developments at the COP here on TheCityFix.