Wednesday, December 5, 2007

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So will Bali accomplish anything?

When it comes to enegy and the environment, anything David Victor writes is worth reading.

In Newsweek, Victor suggests that the upcoming Bali summit won't achieve much of anything:

The effort, though noble, is largely irrelevant to the urgent task of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. The countries that care the most about successful U.N. talks are a small and shrinking part of the problem. Those that matter most—notably China, which in 2007 became the world's largest emitter of warming gases—have exempted themselves from any regulation of their effluent. The Bali agenda offers no route around this impasse and will probably make it harder to solve in the future.

posted by Dan on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM


What do regular joe's around the neighborhood have in common with Newsweek columnists whose opinions on energy and the environment are worth reading? They both think the Bali summit will achieve nothing. To the Joe's it's common sense, to fancy intellectuals is hard thought reasoning. Does anyone, anywhere think these things accomplish anything?

posted by: Jeff on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM [permalink]

Remember, don't just do nothing; simply stand there.

posted by: Azael on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM [permalink]

"...the urgent task of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions." That's worth reading? Poppycock.

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM [permalink]

Victor is wrong. The Bali conference will do precisely what it is intended to do: not to decisively update or improve the Kyoto regime, but to sediment an emerging consensus about the problem (lacking at Kyoto in 1997), to set an agenda for further talks (which only need conclude by 2012) and most crucially, to provide a forum in which global leaders can and gradually will reconsider their definition of their "national interest."

We have seen this process borne out already. Australia, the only other developed country who had refused to ratify, has just switched course. Climate change is one of a few issues where even the dogma of the Bush Administration has given way to science and to new awareness of the connections between climate change and national security. Victor points out that China as well may reconsider its "interests" in the near future, partly as a result of the emerging consensus among its allies and trading partners.

Multilateral forums like Bali are the transnational spaces in which diplomats create new conceptions of what a nation's interests are. This may seem like "nothing," but it is a crucial first step in generating a tipping point towards genuine global governance.

posted by: Charli Carpenter on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM [permalink]

"...crucial first step in generating a tipping point towards genuine global governance"
Is that what they are teaching at Pitt these days, Ms. Carpenter? Global governance? Scary.

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 12.05.07 at 08:46 PM [permalink]

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