Thousands of government officials, industry lobbyists, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens have arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali for two weeks of talk about the world’s environment. According to a spokesperson for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main focus will be upon outlining what “will lead to a long-term policy response to climate change.” The original environment agreement in 1992 established voluntary goals but that was reinforced by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 which set mandatory limits on emissions. Even the nations which agreed to Kyoto have, for the most part, failed to even reach their initial goals. Most observers believe the greatest obstacle to developing an effective global warming policy is failure on the part of the United States to take decisive action on this issue. The Bush administration has made clear from day one that it will not participate in global agreements that might in any manner impact the way US business is conducted.
According to the Pew Environmental Group, “The Bush administration is the only government in the world that is opposed to mandatory emissions reductions being included in a new treaty,” according to Philip Clapp. The real question is whether America’s failure to participate with other nations of the world will hamper efforts to reduce the process of global warming. Perhaps, the best hope lies in a new administration in Washington D.C. in January, 2009.