Sunday, December 16, 2007

That Papua New Guinea Smackdown

Photo by: Spiegel On Line

Two weeks of international climate talks marked by bitter disagreements and angry accusations culminated Saturday in a last-minute U.S. compromise and an agreement to adopt a blueprint for fighting global warming by 2009.

India sought to amend the document to strengthen requirements for richer nations to help poorer with technology to limit emissions and adapt to climate change's impacts.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Undersecretary of State Paula J. Dobriansky objected, setting off loud, long boos in the hall.

Next, delegate after delegate took aim at the United States, with South Africa saying Dobriansky's intervention was "most unwelcome and without any basis," and Uganda saying "We would like to beg them" to relent.

Then the delegate from Papua New Guinea leaned into his microphone.

"We seek your leadership," Kevin Conrad told the Americans. "But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way."

The U.N. climate conference exploded with applause, the U.S. delegation backed down, and the way was cleared Saturday for adoption of the "Bali Roadmap."

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