Bali Diary

Better late than never down under

Phil Woolas, London, Monday evening: So it’s started - the Bali Conference is officially underway. UK officials are already there working with their counterparts from over 180 countries to prepare the ground for when the Ministers arrive next week. Spoke to Hilary this morning about his visit to India last week, some encouraging signs but it underlined the fact that getting agreement in Bali won’t be easy.

Phil Woolas working in his officeHilary and I had a great meeting this morning with the environmental and development NGOs and BINGOs (there’s a new acronym for you - the Business and Industry NGOs - nothing to do with two little ducks!) to discuss what we want to achieve in Bali. Government, Business and NGOs are all working really closely together to try and get the international agreement we need. It’s a great thing to be a part of - and there’s not many areas of policy it happens in!

The newspapers are full of Bali today. I read in the Telegraph that my hotel is very lavish - that’s the first I’ve heard. I don’t think they realise that it’s rainy season in Bali this time of year. That’s why it’s happening there, now. There’s no tourists - and lots of spare hotel rooms. I also think it’s odd that there’s never any mention in the papers of how many journalists are going - many more British journos than UK Government officials!

The Australians ratified the Kyoto agreement this morning - technically they are signatories already having signed up in 1997 but they decided not to ratify at the time. Don’t forget these agreements have to get through the respective Parliaments as well as being agreed by the Governments. Bill Clinton for example signed up but the Senate wouldn’t ratify. This is one of the reasons why we need two years between the agreement (if we get one in Copenhagen in 2009) and the start date in 2012.

Last minute travel plans are being arranged - all Government air travel is off-set but thank goodness I’ve got the offfice to help me. If it were down to me I’d probably forget my passport!

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