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International Community Meets in Bali to Address Environment


More than 140 governments will convene this week in Indonesia under the banner of the U.N. Program for the Environment, the largest such gathering since the climate change summit last December in Copenhagen.

Since the Copenhagen summit did not manage to reach any binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions, U.N. Program for the Environment Director Achim Steiner says it will be difficult to bounce back.

"Copenhagen, in my mind, will be in history books as a moment where [sic] humanity has failed in its responsibility to act," he said. "A deal has become more difficult than in Copenhagen".

Experts in Bali insist the issue remains urgent. While the environment continues to be threatened by human activities, climate change could accelerate.

"Acting on environment is not by definition something that has to impoverish you," Steiner said. "And I find a bitter irony: we are destroying the ecosystem that is sequestering the carbon, while spending billions of dollars betting on the next power station generation that will capture and store and sequester the carbon by a method that is as yet an hypothesis!"

Steiner insists the responsibility of finding an agreement is shared by the entire world.

"You can always find reasons not to act because of someone else not doing the right thing," he said. "And for Mexico, I think it will take leaders, and it is not only from the big ones. I think there is this suggestion right now that it is only if China and America agree. The G-20 also did not deliver, neither did the major economies forum for that matter. So please take another look at the question of whether multilateralism is dead".

The Bali meeting is the first large international gathering since the Copenhagen summit of last year. Expectations remain high that an effective leadership could arise on the international stage for the climate change issue.

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