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Saturday, November 24, 2007
Pushing The Environmental Agenda in Bali (December 3-14)

Bali - United Nations Climate Change Conference

The United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held on December 3-14, 2007 in Bali, Indonesia and the outcome from this conference will chart the course towards an effective international agreement on pollution reduction targets in place for 2012, or an ineffective agreement that puts us on a negative course.

The scientific facts related to the speed of global environmental devastation are clear, but the political and economic willpower to change is restrained in some of the largest economies. One thread of political motivation lies in the European Union, whose membership is at least committed to adopting radical targets if they will make a difference. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, has publicly stated that he is willing to lead the industrialized world towards establishing tougher pollution reduction targets.

A question that U.N. delegates will face in Bali will be what to do with those nations who do not wish to adopt strong pollution reduction targets. Next month in Bali, there really is no room for an average consensus. There have to be significant pollution reduction targets established that promote the highest risk management strategy for Earth. Scientists do not know enough to calculate the timeframe of impending calamity, nor the exact magnitude of pollution reductions required to reverse the global warming trend, so humanity needs to take the safest approach and not the most politically expedient.

Previous theirEarth editorials have stated that for effective reversal of global warming, there would need to be an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions within the next ten years and a worldwide ban on the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) within the next year. The reason for these aggressive targets is that there needs to be a reduction in CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere and not just a slowing of their rate of climb.

Next month’s meetings in Bali will be watched by a global audience, and one hopes that in determining our direction, everyone puts humanity’s future ahead of  the short term interests of a few.

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