The US changed its mind after this was uttered (via):
We ask for your leadership. We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you’re not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.
— Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea.
After two weeks of intense discussions and bitter wrangling, delegates from over 180 nations at the Bali climate summit reached agreement on a two-year “roadmap” for finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
The last-minute deal came on Saturday after the US delegation made a U-turn in a final negotiating session. The US had opposed a proposal by the G77 bloc, which represents developing countries, for rich nations to do more to help the developing world combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Paula Dobriansky, leader of the US delegation, and her colleague James Connaughton found themselves the targets of naked animosity. When Dobriansky announced that the US would not sign up for the Bali roadmap, boos echoed through the room. The Americans were sharply attacked by several delegations. “If you’re not willing to lead, please get out of the way,” said a US environmental activist representing Papua New Guinea.
Other opponents of binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as Japan or Russia, failed to come to the US delegation’s defense. Left isolated, the American delegation gave in and agreed to the roadmap. “We will go forward and join consensus,” said Dobriansky. This time the delegation was rewarded with a standing ovation from some participants. [Climate Change Deal Reached after US U-Turn. Spiegel. December 15 2007]
There still a long way to go but we are marching on to 2012. But what exactly were achieved?
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS:
It recognizes that “deep cuts” in global emissions will be required to prevent dangerous human interference in the climate. It references scientific reports that suggest a range of cuts between 25 and 40 percent by 2020, but prescribes no such targets itself.
Negotiations for the next climate accord should last for two years and conclude in 2009 in order to allow enough time to implement it at the end of 2012. Four major climate meetings will take place next year.
RICH AND POOR:
Negotiators should consider binding reductions of gas emissions by industrialized countries, while developing countries should consider moves to control the growth of their emissions. Richer countries should work to transfer climate-friendly technology to poorer nations.
ADJUSTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE:
Negotiators should look at supporting urgent steps to help poorer countries adapt to inevitable effects of global warming, such as building seawalls to guard against rising oceans.
Negotiators should consider “positive incentives” for reducing deforestation in developing countries, many of which are seeking international compensation for preserving their forest “sinks” absorbing carbon dioxide. [A Look at the Bali Climate Change Plan. Associated Press via NYT. December 15 2007]
The last point, which essentially the internalization of positive (i.e. living trees) and negative externalities (i.e. loss of carbon sink) though on theory is fantastic, in practice, pricing might be tough or even expensive if done properly. The reason is, the forest should be priced as high as the most productive activities that cause deforestation. This means that those that enjoy positive externality and suffer negative externality from forest and deforestation need not only to match returns from the timber industry but also from industries such as agriculture. This would mean the full compensation could amount to billions.
p/s — I have just realized this:
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
— Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809)
pp/s — Or more explicitly…