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Largest-ever climate meeting begins in Bali

Bali meeting is the largest global warming conference ever

Largest-ever climate meeting begins in Bali
December 2, 2007

In Bali, Indonesia, more than 10,000 delegates, scientists, journalists, and activists from around the world kicked off the largest-ever climate change conference Monday. Organizers hope that the meeting lays the groundwork for a new international pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

“The Bali conference will be the culmination of a momentous twelve months in the climate debate and needs a breakthrough in the form of a roadmap for a future climate change deal,” said Yvo de Boer, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “Early in the year, scientific evidence of global warming, as set out in the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), put the reality of human-induced global warming beyond any doubt. What we are facing is not only an environmental problem, but has much wider implications: For economic growth, water and food security, and for people’s survival – especially those living in the poorest communities in developing countries. The recent joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC for its work in disseminating knowledge on climate change further underlines the implications for overall peace and security.”

Sunset in Bali

Over the next two weeks, 15,000-20,000 people from more than 190 countries are expected to attend the conference on Bali, a resort island. Expectations for the meeting are low, but organizers hope to break new ground on the issue of emissions from deforestation, which currently account for roughly 20 percent of greenhouse gases but are not covered by the Kyoto pact. Environmentalists, scientists, and a coalition of politicians from rainforest nations are pushing for a mechanism to compensate tropical forest countries for preserving forest lands and avoiding emissions from deforestation. By some estimates, “avoided deforestation” or “reducing emissions from deforestation” (REDD) could send billions of dollars annually in the form of carbon credits to countries in the tropics.

Still, observers says that China and the United States — the two largest emitters of carbon dioxide — are unlikely to make commitments to take binding action on climate change. Among industrialized nations, the U.S. may find itself increasingly isolated now that Australian Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd intends to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Under John Howard, Australia had refused to ratify the climate pact.

The meeting runs through December 14.


Reducing tropical deforestation will help fight global warming. More scientists have joined the growing chorus to support a plan by developing countries to fight global warming by reducing deforestation rates. Tropical deforestation releases more than 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, though in some years, like the 1997-1998 el Niño year when fires released some 2 billion tons of carbon from peat swamps alone in Indonesia, emissions are more than twice that.

Hope in Bali: the December Meetings on Climate Change. The fourth, and final, report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted the most irrefutable and sobering picture yet of global warming. Two thousand scientists from over one hundred countries agreed to the statement that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level”. The report also stated that it was more than 90% certain that global warming is due to human activity. This report, released last week, will hopefully set the tone for the two week meeting in Bali, Indonesia on climate change and create the rapid and strong responses that are required.

China surpasses the U.S. in CO2 emissions. China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, reports the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (EEA), a group that advises the Dutch government.

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