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After Bali: Time for a Different Kind of Climate Politics

Marxist Perspectives for the 21st Century
After Bali: Time for a Different Kind of Climate Politic
by Ian Angus

In a narrow and formal sense, last month’s Climate Change conference in Bali achieved its objectives. The Kyoto Protocol is due to expire in 2012: the Bali gathering’s purpose was to adopt a roadmap for negotiating a new treaty — and that was done. A new roadmap, called the Bali Action Plan, was adopted unanimously at an overtime session, after the USA withdrew its objections.

As the New York Times pointed out, the dramatic U.S. capitulation really didn’t amount to much: “From the United States the delegates got nothing, except a promise to participate in the forthcoming negotiations.” [1]

That’s why the Bali meetings were a failure in any meaningful sense. They didn’t even discuss the Kyoto Protocol’s failure to produce results, failed to recognize the need for rapid action, and above all failed to adopt (or even recommend) any targets for emission reductions. The final resolution might better be called the Bali Inaction Plan — at best it is an agreement to discuss further, and maybe agree in 2009 on measures that might be implemented after 2012.

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