Monday, December 17, 2007

so so proud : usa humiliated by papua new guinea

Kevin Conrad, a young Harvard business school graduate and currently executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (which BTW, was formed earlier this year at the suggestion of Papua New Guinea, the coalition now includes 33 nations representing Africa, Latin America and the Pacific), born and raised in Papua New Guinea, made headlines on the last day of the United Nations Bali Climate Change Conference when, as the representative of Papua New Guinea at the conference, he spoke truth to power.

At the United Nations Bali Climate Change Conference last week, the US representative first said that the US would not support the proposed agreement to hash out a new treaty to supersede Kyoto and actually be meaningful, then was sternly rebuked by the PNG representative, at which point, the US did a complete 180.

BALI, Indonesia (CNN Article) -- In a dramatic reversal Saturday, the United States rejected and then accepted a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

The White House, however, said in a statement that it still has "serious concerns" about the agreement ... The head of the U.S. delegation, Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, announced the United States was rejecting the plan. Her comments were met by booing from other delegations. Under the global warming pact, negotiating rounds would end in 2009.

...The Saturday session, unpredictable and charged with emotion, was a roller coaster ride for delegates and the media.

After Dobriansky's announcement, the delegate from Papua New Guinea, Kevin Conrad challenged the United States:

“We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.”

Five minutes later, when it appeared the conference was on the brink of collapse, Dobriansky took the floor again to say the United States was willing to accept the arrangement. Applause erupted in the hall and a relative level of success for the conference appeared certain.


To put into context what PNG did, I am also copying parts of an article from a British newspaper, The Independent entitled "The World Gets the Better of Bush":

The mood had been building all week at the negotiations in Bali on a replacement to the present arrangements under the Kyoto Protocol which run out in 2012. For months the United States, and President Bush himself, had been insisting that it would not block progress. Spin-doctors were dispatched to assert, ludicrously, not only that the President was as committed as anyone to avoiding catastrophic global warming, but that the man who had spent years trying to destroy any attempt to tackle it had always really been on the side of the environmental angels. But once his hard-faced negotiators took their seats in the steamy conference centre at the Nusa Dua resort the pretence slipped away. They blocked virtually every constructive proposal put on the table, refusing any suggestion of concrete action by the US, while insisting that other countries do more and more. Ever since Bush first rejected — and set out to kill — the Kyoto Protocol, he had cited as his main objection its exclusion of big developing nations such as China and India. More recently he has indicated that the US would move if they took the first step. Sure enough, they came to Bali ready to take action on their own emissions — and still the US refused to budge.

It is simply not done in international negotiations for one country to single out another for criticism; it’s the equivalent of calling someone a liar in the House of Commons. But from early last week other delegations were publicly, unprecedentedly and explicitly blaming the US for the lack of progress. Worse, they were beginning to point the finger at President Bush himself, suggesting that things would improve once he was gone. That is the kind of humiliation reserved for such international pariahs as Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein. But even they were never subjected to the treatment that America received yesterday morning. When it tried, yet again, to sabotage agreement the representatives of the other 187 governments broke into boos and hisses. When Papua New Guinea told the US to “get out of the way”, they cheered.

The US buckled, as it has always done in international negotiations when it has been isolated. The same thing happened at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, last summer, and two years ago in Montreal, when holding the Bali negotiations was unexpectedly agreed. That is why Tony Blair’s fatal flaw of constantly trying to let President Bush off the hook — while doing so much to raise the profile of climate change internationally — was so destructive. That is also why it is so deeply disturbing that an EU source told The Independent on Sunday that Britain had helped the US water down the Bali agreement after a phone call from the White House to Downing Street. We must hope, as Hilary Benn insists, that this is wrong. The last thing the country wants, or the world needs, is for us to have replaced the poodle with a Pekinese….

Global warming is now the defining issue of our times, and it will determinie almost exclusively how future generations judge us.


Blogger Sam Clifford said...

Just thought I'd let you know I've
linked to you to direct people to the PNG delegate's comments.

18 December, 2007 10:38  
Anonymous 1986 said...

awesome!! so proud!

27 December, 2007 21:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just in case you haven't read it... thought you might be interested. : ) DK

The National ~ Thursday 21 Feb 08

Allan off to Monaco
PAPUA New Guinea and its New York-based consultant on global warming Dr Kevin Conrad, will feature again in an international forum on the environment and global warming.
The three-day event in Monaco, France, which starts next Wednesday and ends on Friday, will not be as high profile as the Bali conference on climate change, but is just as important.
The PNG team to the forum consists of Dr Conrad, Environment Minister Benny Allan, and John Aruga from the Department of Environment and Conservation.
In Bali last year, PNG gained recognition in the international media when Dr Conrad, who was born and raised in Sepik, led calls for the United States to follow the rest of the world on agreed limits of carbon emission.
The forum in Monaco is the 10th special session of governing council/global ministerial environment forum of the United Nations environment programme.
Mr Allan has been invited to chair the Commonwealth environment ministers’ session.
Mr Allan will also meet the British environment minister in London, a meeting that was arranged by the British High Commission in Port Moresby.

22 February, 2008 10:15  

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