Ok so the American's have come up with a compromise that means that unlike Kyoto they have signed up to the Bali Agreement. But at this time of year when many of us are undergoing our annual performance review and setting objectives for the forthcoming year we are all aware that a good objective is a SMART objective, one that is Specific, Measureable , Achieveable, Realistic and Time Bound. So how does what has just been agreed in Bali measure up against these criteria.
Specific: Ouch we don't start well. Apparently we have agreed to curb climate change. But all we have done is enter a new stage of negotiations over the next two years in order to achieve that. Admittedly we do still have 4 years to run on the Kyoto Protocal which many of today's signaturies had signed up to, but not the USA, Russia and China the big three polluters. So we have no real specifics yet and at the end of negotiations we'll probably find oursleves back where we are now with a reluctance by the USA to set specific targets and China saying that reductions will affect their economic growth.
Measureable: It appears that the only measure is that in two years we will have reached by negotiation a new set of emmission targets. Judging by some of the major stumbling blocks from even getting to agree to negotiations I don't see these limits resulting in a greater reduction than was laid out in Kyoto, and that just scares me.
Acheiveable: Can we expect the USA and China, to be able to agree with the rest of the world who do seem to want to achieve something that something can be done, in just another two years. I'm hoping for a Democrat win in 2008 as that might be our only hope of at least one of those players coming on board in that time. As for China they seem to be geared up for an industrial take over of the world, which finds them lagging behind other's largely due to their terrible recent history of the Cultural Revolution squashing all their own nations intellectuals.
Realistic: Part of this sadly I do see as being acheiveable, having the nations talking for two years about this subject is definitely realistic. After all we've been trying to persuade others for the last ten years. Coming to an agreement that will be helpful at the end of that two year chat now that is where realism goes out the window. The USA were almost on board with Kyoto under the last Clinton adminstration, and would have probably signed up but for some hanging Chads. What is going to happen in the next 12 months Stateside is going to have a massive impact on just how realistic it will be to have a Global agreement at the end of that timeframe.
Time-bound: Well yes this is time bound, two years to come up with new emmission targets, which gives a 2 year lead up peirod for those already on board to gear up for the next stage.
Personally I think that the same old unwilling participants in this whole process are again dragging their feet, digging their heels into the ground and holding on to what they have always had. I'd love to be proved wrong in two years time but somehow I wouldn't hold my breathe too much.