Thursday 11 December 2008

the negotiator and the polemicist

There's a fascinating online exchange (in purely dramatic terms) between George Monbiot and Yvo de Boer, the UN's chief climate change negotiator. Here we meet two climate-change characters - the polemicist and the negotiator. The difference is nicely captured in the final moment in this 10-minute interview.

MONBIOT. You must be pretty relieved to see the end of President Bush.

DE BOER. No, not really. I was impressed by the change that he went through on global warming. I saw him launch a major economies process. I saw him initiate a new financial facility under the World Bank. He was trying to engage on this topic within what he perceived to be the economic realities and political realities of his country. And I respect that.

MONBIOT. So the UN's chief climate change negotiator is the only man on earth who doesn't think that President Bush was a disaster for climate change!

DE BOER. I don't think I'm the only person on earth. I think that he represents a number of political and economic realities that we need to respect if we are going to move forward in a way that holds water.

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