In the city of Bali, Indonesia, many of the folk stories from Ramayana are inherited and cherished. The countries succeeded in carrying out what looked like 'duel' negotiations. Both sides were equally powerful. The only option was to declare both winners or both losers. What was the outcome on COP meeting on climate change in Bali ?
The public watched the duel from a distance , but definitely not from a hiding place. This time the public was prominently placed and well informed - thanks to the efforts of IPCC, Al Gore and the media. The negotiators were, therefore, under pressure and the final outcome was: a new road map! They have now a sense of direction, but no definite destination. They seem to have a desire to find a 'way' but no 'will' to decide who would be their co-travelers when they set out to go on a 'march' from the start-line. I feel that what was forgotten by the negotiators was the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer which has addressed this very dilemma. I would call the Montreal Protocol, a Protocol on "approaches that prevent planetary crises".
When there is a planetary crisis there is only one direction: run more rapidly away from the crisis. When tsunamis arise we have to run away from the water, when volcanoes erupt, we have to run away from them. When there is a 'shower of meteors' we have to collectively protect each other by whatever means we have. If the planetary crisis is due to greenhouse gases emissions, the only direction is to reduce emissions.
The Montreal Protocol has certainly shown the roadmap to avoid global disaster. That roadmap indicated: Follow the precautionary approach and start early action, even if science is uncertain. Accept common but differentiated responsibility so that stronger economies help fragile ones.
In Ramayana the Bali story goes further. Rama could not target the enemy. But then there was the next round of the duel. This time Rama made sure that his friend wore a distinct mark so that he could target the enemy.
Let us wait for the next round of this duel of climate change.