Saturday, December 15, 2007

Time article: "How the U.S. Caved at Bali"

How the U.S. Caved at Bali

But the real drama was to come. After India reiterated its objection — and was essentially supported by the European Union — the lead American negotiator Paula Dobiansky turned to speak, and announced that the U.S. would not accept India's changes, which sought to lighten the expectations from developing countries. (The UN negotiating process requires total consensus.) Boos rained on the U.S. delegation from NGO observers and even the press gallery, breaking the last remaining appearance of diplomatic placidity.

It's hardly the first time the U.S. has been jeered at a UN event, but what happened next was unique. Nation after developing nation rose to criticize the U.S. in language more often reserved for a political debate than a UN conference. A representative from tiny Papua New Guinea — one of many small island states most immediately threatened by climate change — recalled the old Lee Iacocca line about leading, following or getting out of the way. "If the U.S. will not lead, get out of the way," he said, to gallery cheers. "Please get out of the way."

More importantly, with the exception of a confused statement from Japan, not one of the allies that had generally stood with the U.S. the past two weeks — Australia, Russia, Canada — rose in its defense. The near-total isolation of the U.S. on climate change — which had been building since its rejection of the Kyoto Protocol nearly a decade ago — was now obvious, apparently even to the U.S. Dobiansky turned to speak. "We've listened very closely to many of our colleagues here during these two weeks, but especially to what has been said in this hall today," she said. "We will go forward and join consensus." Boos turned to cheers, and the deal was essentially sealed.

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book

No comments: