Two weeks of intense debate in early December resulted in an agreement to seek to agree on international efforts to tackle climate change post 2012, when current commitments end.

As expected, and despite the EU’s best efforts, the 13th conference of the parties (COP) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change was unable to agree on a specific goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It did though agree to launch discussions on an agreement that would see deep cuts in global emissions, with developed countries committing to emissions limitations and reductions and developing countries taking appropriate mitigation actions, among other matters. The agreement will be thrashed out in a series of further meetings of the ad hoc working group – four meetings are planned for 2008 – leading up to its adoption at the 2009 15th COP to be held in Copenhagen.

Bali also saw the meeting of the parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol recommending changes to the registration process for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects aimed at reducing the time taken to achieve approval. The MOP recommended that the CDM executive board take concrete actions to improve and simplify the operational aspects of the CDM, while ensuring that its environmental integrity is not affected. CDM allows some of the emissions reductions required to be achieved by developed countries to be implemented via the establishment of projects in developing countries where the cost of achieving reductions is less.