Climate conference opens in Bali
Australia ratified Today marked the beginning of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The conference will run from the 3rd to the 14th of December, and is expected by many to be a pivotal event for establishing the global regime for adapting to, and mitigating the damage from, climate change.
In time for the conference, and as a first step in the newly elected Australian government's pro-Kyoto policy, Australia ratified the Kyoto protocol today. Next month when the obligations under the Kyoto Protocol come into effect, Australia will be bound to reduce its emissions, along with every other industrialized nation in the world except the US.
The lack of the US as a part to the Kyoto Protocol threatened the still birth of the process until Russia signed on in 2002. It is expected that a key focus on the Bali conference will be bringing the US, and the developing states with large emission portfolio’s, into the process. Expect a lot of discussion around the roles of the US, China, India and Brazil over the next two weeks.
Canadian's can also expect some signals from their Federal government regarding the role of Canada beyond 2012, and how it will address Canada's obligation to reduce its emissions during 2008-2012. The first such signal came two weeks ago when Environment Minister (Canada) Baird told the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois that they will not be part of the official Canadian delegation at the Climate Change Conference. This of course has not stopped Mr. Dion, leader of the opposition, from attending.
But, Politics aside, Bali is about harmful gas molecules and those who emit them, and, although Canada only produces roughly 2% of global emissions, per capita we Canadians produce more than anyone else in the world.
With 10,000 delegates at the official conference in Bali, and dozens, if not hundreds, of side events and related conferences springing up around the UNFCC conference, hopefully we will see some movement forward rather than more hot air.