17 December 2007

Reaction to the Bali Conference

Singapore - Following are reactions to Saturday's UN-led climate talks agreement in Bali to start negotiations on a new global warming pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The United States dropped last-minute opposition.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moom:

"I am deeply grateful to many member states for their spirit of flexibility and compromise."

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda:

"Here in Bali we reached a consensus, global consensus for all countries.

"No single country was excluded, in a very inclusive processs...we hope it will provide not only a good basis but also the momentum in the coming years."

James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality:

"There is no question that we have opened a new page and are moving forward together. It is a strong commitment jointly reached by all countries to advance negotiations.

"This is not a step taken alone by America, this is a step taken by all the countries that the time had come to open a new chapter."

"We now have one of the broadest negotiating agendas ever on climate change. The large emerging economies, which also produce large amounts of greenhouse gases, also have to be part of the solution."

Hans Verolme, WWF's Global Climate Change Programme Director:

"The US administration was asked to get out of the way, and in the end they bowed to pressure. The Bali roadmap leaves a seat at the table for the next US president to make a real contribution to the global fight to stop dangerous climate change."

Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists:

"What we witnessed today was an incredible drama. I have been following these talks for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this.

"The talks came to the brink of collapse. You saw it in real time. But it was a brilliant strategy to unite the world and my country, the United States, to rejoin the international community in taking on this problem."

Sunita Narain, Head of the Centre for Science and the Environment, New Delhi:

"As an environmentalist, I am not satisfied. I think what we have seen at Bali is what we saw at (previous meetings in) Rio and Berlin. I see this as a replay.

"At all three events exactly the same formula has played out with the Europeans going in to save the day, to get something for the world. At the end of the day, we got an extremely weak agreement.

"I don't see the world growing up. It's obvious the US is not learning to be alive to world opinion."

British Environment Secretary Hilary Benn:

"This is a stark breakthrough, it's been a rollercoaster."

Greenpeace Bill Hare:

"The US has been humbled by the overwhelming message by developing countries that they are ready to be engage with the problem, and it's been humiliated by the world community.

"I've never seen such a flip-flop in an environmental treaty context ever."

It clearly indicates the US is unable to face the changing reality of climate change internationally."

Dutch Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer:

"It was a delicate balance and we were able to really build consensus in this room and indeed the United States was willing to give in.

"The G77 was willing to give in, everybody was willing to give in. We could not leave here without a Bali roadmap."

Joyashree Roy, Expert on the Economics of Climate Change at Jadhavpur University in Kolkata, India:

"This is very positive news. Unless the leader is taking the lead then the followers will not follow. But this should not just be a gesture, it must involve commitments, if the United States accepts targets then it will force others to do so."

"India should make preparations to come up with timelines by when it can make some sort of a commitment -- it may be a commitment for emissions cuts or for mitigation efforts.

Everton Vargas, Head of Brazil's Delegation:

"We are very happy, we think it's a great success."

Paula Dobriansky, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs:

"We have our work cut out. Work remains...We joined the consensus...after hearing the comments (from South Africa, Brazil and others) we were assured by their commitment to act."

Ned Helme, President of the Washington-based Center for Clean Air Policy:

"It's great. It's a real breakthrough ... It's the first time that developing countries really took the lead, showed their strength and talked about what kind of programmes they are doing on their own."

Story Date: 17/12/2007

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