Bali Diary

A call to action

Phil Woolas, Thursday, 3pm (7am UK time). This conf is really humming now. Hilary is right at the centre of things along with his colleagues from across the world including South Africa, Portugal (Presidency of the EU), China, Brazil, India and of course the USA.

By the end of the week we need every country signed up to an agreement. There are a dozen or so whose support will determine the fate of the conference and along with it our chances of avoiding the most dangerous climate change.

Hilary and I are meeting with colleagues from other countries throughout the day, discussing issues and what text we can all sign up to. We started at 7am and went through to the early hours last night and kicked off again at 7. I have to tread very carefully at the these crunch stages as the position can change literally minute by minute.

Sometimes the position changes whilst we are in the meetings. Its much easier if I’ve met the Minister before so Connie from Denmark for example I’ve know for 25 years and others I’ve got to know over the last 6 months.

Hilary of course is very well-known and probably has the best contacts of anyone here. I’ve told him last night that the conference divides in two: those who think of him as Tony’s son and those who think of Tony as Hilary’s Dad!

Hilary gave his statement to the conference yesterday. He had about three minutes to state the Government’s formal position to the assembled meeting. It was a call to action, saying we can’t carry on saying “after you” to each other, and have to take action together. That is part of the logic behind the Climate Change Bill in the UK. To show everyone we’re serious.

One of my highlights of yesterday was speaking at the International Trade Unions Confederations. I argued that a sustainable economy meant not just one combining environmental protection and economic growth but one that also ensured employment for all.

Overall though, the big picture here is how do we reconcile the varying views of the developed countries while maintaining the support of the developing world. It is not easy, far from certain, and my stomach is tightening.

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