In Bali, Indonesia, the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon pressed for a deal on the post-Kyoto treaty by 2009. The United Nations is working to forge an agreement by the end of 2009 to allow national parliaments three years to ratify the new treaty by 2012. The 2009 date would also give the capital markets and government funds the time to marshal the billions of dollars in investment in technology to address the cuts that the UN hopes will be agreed upon in the new treaty.
The biggest obstacle is an agreement on emissions reductions, and to whom they would apply. The US joined by Japan, Canada, and Australia is fighting mention in the Bali statement of the need to reduced emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. China and India are fighting any discussion of reductions in their emissions.
“Realistically it may be too ambitious if delegations would be expected to be able to agree on targets of greenhouse gas emission reductions," Ban said, recognizing the US opposition under the current President. "Sometime down the road we will have to agree on them. The time to act is now. You need to set an agenda -- a roadmap to a more secure climate future, coupled with a tight timeline that produces a deal by 2009."
There may be little concrete consensus that comes out of Bali. Although Al Gore is more hopeful. “Some of the reports are worrisome," said the Nobel Peace Prize winner. "But I know from experience and previous such meetings that breakthroughs, when they do occur, usually happen in the last 48 hours and sometimes in the last four to eight hours."
As the talks come to an end this week, we will see to what extent the convening nations set any specific ground rules for future negotiations of a post-Kyoto climate change treaty.