The Bali Conference – Roadmap to nowhere

Depending on your hopes, the Climate Conference at Bali was either a wonderful meeting of minds who have the wellbeing of our planet at heart–or it was the beginning of several years of organised talkfests which hope to achieve something but like most U.N enterprises will fizzle into a small puddle of pretensions and delays.

Time will be the judge on this one. But I must admit that I shudder whenever the term “roadmap” is used. The only other roadmap that I can think of is “the roadmap to peace” between the Palestinians and the Israelis and if the Bali roadmap is as successful as that other one, then we are in deep trouble.

When this conference was set up, some global warming fanatics actually believed that salvation was nigh. That’s how naive they are. How can they really think that nations all over the world are going to agree to sign a document which has not been well thought out yet.

To sign your name to an agreement limiting the economic development of your nation is a great responsibility, in my opinion. These things have to be thought out, planned, organised and weighed up.

Carbon trading is still a nebulous theory to me and a billion other folks. Apparently, there’s more to it than swapping stamps or marbles. With whom are we going to carbon trade? Tierra del Fuego? I pollute and then I send you some vouchers with “oops” written on them. And then Tierra del Fuego plants loads of trees or what? Is that how it works?

I’m all for saving the planet, but am not actually convinced that it’s in trouble. Seems to me that we have replaced one kind of panic with another that makes us feel all warm and cosy (no disrespect to global warming). It’s so much more comfortable to talk about the weather than worry about terrorism and wars, isn’t it?

I meet many people who proudly share with me that they are doing their bit for the planet. When you ask them what they are doing, they say that they bring their own green bags to the supermarket …to which they drive in their SUV. They are swapping their bad light bulbs for those white coily things which last longer any way. What a sacrifice on their part! A very environmentally friendly lady I met at a cocktail party confided to me in a shameful whisper that she had used the air conditioner twice this week because the heat has been unbearable.

If this sort of stupidity continues we will all end up ravaged by guilt. I’m already flushing my loo less than I used to. We’ll all probably catch some awful diseases through lack of hygiene with this saving water jazz. I know of children who live on the coast who can’t sleep at night because their teacher told them that sea levels will rise and they will all drown. They were shown that video that’s doing the rounds of water rising in a split second and whole cities going under.

How can this sort of hysteria be good for anyone?

If talking about the problem makes people feel that they are doing something well, ok, keep talking. That’s the way the U.N has always worked. We meet, we eat, we drink, we talk, we meet, we eat, we drink, we talk. Kyoto, Shmyoto, talk is cheap. But I worry that out of all this there will come some idiotic agreement that will cost us plenty and then we will know what real trouble is.


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