Ecologists will probably remember this event as just another of the many times the USA blocked any real action on climate change [Actually, it was far too late anyway, so cheer up] but it was remarkable in other ways, too.
[Wednesday August 30, 2006, Guardian - Richard Alley's eyes glint as we sit in his office in the University of Pennsylvania discussing how fast global warming could cause sea levels to rise. The scientist sums up the state of knowledge: "We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn't take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds."]
The conference, including Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, the USA – they sent the guy from the famous Minnesota toilet cubicle scandal – and all the other countries of the world, was held in the [very expensive] Nusa Dua end of Bali, one of the most beautiful spots on a very beautiful earth, where the Hindus of Java went en masse when Java got taken over by Islam.
It only came out later that the Indonesians were using a large number of tanks of polyfluorocarbons, (those gases that leak out of old refrigerators world wide that everyone thought had been banned world wide – you’d be amazed at some of the things stashed away in cupboards in Indonesia – ) to air condition the sumptuous quarters and meeting hall of all those wankers up there talking. This may [or may not] be connected to the fact that the chairman of the proceedings broke down in tears and left the podium. It does however demonstrate that even our fabled ability to run important meetings and conferences is sadly full of holes.