MORE TALKING ABOUT...

MORE TALKING ABOUT TALKING. I'm back in the press room waiting for Al Gore's lunchtime speech to the delegates to be broadcast on the big ole' teevee (we weren't invited to this event). So here's what gets me about today's goings on. I just spent two hours listening to leaders make passionate speeches about the need to mitigate our effects on the planet, leaders that included Federal Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, and Bolivian President Evo Morales. Each leader gets five minutes to stand before the others assembled in their plenary session, and they've all discussed what you'd expect – targets, the need for sustainable development, and just how grave a concern climate change has become in the years since Kyoto. But that's it – they talk, others listen, others talk. So I could share the frustration of president of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, who led off his speech by saying he hoped this whole thing would be a more interactive session. I think he wanted fiery debates on mitigation strategies, which would have been a whole lot more exciting – and probably more productive.

On a similar note, there are separate sessions for each general area of climate change – mitigation, adaptation, financing, technology. But I doubt any of the delegates have an interest in just one of those subject areas. I know I do. Wouldn't it make more sense to have one general assembly with everyone involved, and have representatives with compelling stories address the entire body? And perhaps have some conversation rather than endless speechification?

--Kate Sheppard