The United Nations conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia has ended, with some wins, some losses and lots more work to do.
Canada’s environment Minister John Baird held a hard line for most of the conference opposing the global move to reduce greenhouse gases. It was in part due to the tremendous pressure exerted by the European union, environmental groups, activists, and labour unions that Stephen Harper’s government had to revisit their original position opposing Green house gas reduction.
The move from the Harper government to stop obstructing negotiations was positive. The exciting news out of the Bali conference is that there is consensus that deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required. The depth of the cuts, or hard targets is not yet sorted out, and therefore there remains a good deal of work to be done.
The promise of change was in the air due in large measure to the considerable pressure from environmental groups, political parties, and advocacy groups. The pressure to come to terms with green house gases was felt in the form of on line petitions, campaigns, and demonstrations, and of course face-to-face negotiations. Minister of the environment John Baird was isolated in his opposition to make deep cuts and was unable to stand alone in opposition.
There is room for cautious optimism and reason to think internationally that more serious and broader steps are being taken to cut emissions. The rally cry of the globe’s people was heard in Bali, and those voices cannot be ignored.