Monday, December 3, 2007

COP 13 3 DECEMBER 2007


Environmental Minister of Indonesia Rachmat Witoelar

We “need to find the political will” and “the world is watching.” These were some of the opening remarks at COP 13 by the newly elected president of the COP, Rachmat Witoelar, environmental minister of Indonesia. Without a doubt, not just tropical forests, but the entire world eco-system is in danger of ruin if the delegates can not find a way to move swiftly and decisively in the name of the Earth in order to finally deal with the issues of climate change, and in particular, the razing of tropical forests and the destruction of precious world resources.

Despite the ugly picture that stands before us, it seems that there is more then a ray of hope here at the UN Climate Change conference for the trees of tropical countries. “Prevention of (losing) the lost paradise” calls for “a break through at Bali” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC today. This optimism and keen desire to finally bring about meaningful change seems to be the expectations of the majority of the delegates here in Nusa Dua. As Papua New Guinea stated, “Climate change is real and upon us” and “world consciousness has awoken to this issue.” The time to act is now, and the time to reign in tropical deforestation under the auspices of Kyoto and its future offspring is upon us.

With the European Union “looking for a REDD Decision” and Australia (the most recent signor of the Kyoto Protocol) “looking for development in REDD,” it is clear that the participants of the conference must as the Ugandan delegate forcefully stated, “stop talking and move to action.” These issues will require “bold and political commitment to crack this diamond,” he said. And crack it we must! There is no alternative for the tropical forests of our planet.

The “Bali roadmap” must be drafted and set down at this most important COP in a decade. There was much talk by the delegates that some type of successor to Kyoto must be the outcome in Bali. Even the United States, however difficult to believe agreed that there must be roadmap to the future with a culmination in 2009. Whether they can be counted on to hold to such statements remains to be seen, but at least the right words are in place, and with that hope is alive.

The next two weeks could be critical for our planet and tropical forests alike. Are the delegates willing to take the vital action needed? We will know in only a fortnight’s time!

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