By mid-afternoon on the last day of the conference, hopes that the Bali Mandate would have an explicit focus on 2020 and 2050 targets appeared dashed. The discussions on the second path then came into play: nutting out future emission reduction commitments for developed countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
Text tabled by the chair said that “global emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak in the next 10-15 years and be reduced to very low levels, well below half of levels in 2000, by the middle of the twenty-first century in order to stabilise their concentrations in the atmosphere at the lowest levels assessed by the IPCC … Achieving the lowest levels assessed by the IPCC to date and its corresponding potential damage limitation would require [industrialised] Parties as a group to reduce emissions in a range of 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.”
Without the political cover of the USA, Japan made what could only be called a non-statement, and early opposition from Canada and Russia evaporated in the face of overwhelming support for the text. Australia also ended two weeks of speculation on its position by “strongly supporting” this non-binding, but important, signpost for science backed targets for developed nations.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Throughout the Bali conference, business was very clear that it was looking to governments to come to an agreement by 2009 that created policy certainty. The International Chamber of Commerce wanted “clear, predictable and stable frameworks for long-term planning and investment . for implementing and accelerating technology cooperation for projects related to energy access, supply and energy efficiency.”
Business was a well represented and diverse group in Bali. The usual suspects were in attendance – energy producers and carbon intensive industries. But representing the increasingly multifaceted and sophisticated policy response to climate change, bankers, investors, carbon traders, foresters, law firms and myriad other businesses mingled in the corridors. All of these industries face the overriding dilemma: How can multi-billion dollar investments be made without knowing what carbon liabilities may be in the future?