Having posted the details below on Ban Ki-Moon’s December climate conference at a seaside luxury resort on Bali, I’ve now gone a bit deeper into the UNFCC web site (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). There the UNFCC has posted its “Overview Schedule” for the conference. Not only are the proceedings amid the beaches and tennis courts (see photo in Nov. 4 post, below) scheduled to go on…and on… and on… for a full 12 days. It also looks like the work hours won’t intrude all that much on the recreational possibilities.
The meetings at the Dec. 3-14 conference begin each day at a leisurely 10 A.M., with a two-hour break for lunch, and wrap up their work on assigned topics by 6 PM. Except on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday — Dec. 6,7, 8 and 10 — when all meetings will be devoted to “informal groups.” On Sunday, Dec. 9, there are no meetings scheduled at all. In other words, the workaday UN conferees will be jetting to Bali for a routine in which they spend almost half the 12 days of the conference engaged in unstructured activities, start work mid-morning, lunch from 1-3 P.M. and knock off in time for cocktails.
Why is Ban Ki-Moon steering public resources into a two-week UN climate-crowd pajama party on Bali? I’m almost tempted to protest. Except if these folks skip the mai-tais by the pool and toil around the clock, it could get even worse. The last time the UN rolled up its sleeves and went to work on a giant project, we got Oil-for-Food. If the UN in the name of controlling the climate gets into the business of regulating the economies and reallocating the resources of the entire planet, it could cost the rest of us trillions in productivity lost, creativity stifled and development thwarted — or, in a nutshell — freedoms foregone. So, interesting though the inevitably ensuing corruption scandals might be, here’s hoping the conferees at Ban’s Bali Blowout take a hint from the Overview Schedule, and spend all their time on the beach.