Gormley: 'Lack of air conditioning sped up climate change deal'

Gormley: 'Lack of air conditioning sped up climate change deal'

Environment Minister John Gormley tonight revealed the secret to brokering an agreement during tough international negotiations on climate change.

At the Hay literary Festival in Wales he recalled how delegates at difficult UN talks on climate change reached a deal because the food ran out and air conditioning was switched off.

Diplomats at the gathering in Bali last December eventually came up with a last minute compromise after almost two weeks of bitter wrangling.

And looking ahead to high-level talks in Copenhagen next year the Green Party leader said he was confident a deal could be reached which the US would eventually sign up to.

“It was difficult to get an agreement. In fact it was the day after the last day (of the Bali talks),” he said.

“It was a very bizarre situation. Obviously, the Indonesians didn’t expect us to go on that long.

“They’d switched off all the air conditioning, there was no food left and everyone was getting very irritable and probably that led to the agreement in the end.

“So it was a good tactic perhaps in hindsight.”

Mr Gormley was speaking alongside Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson in a joint discussion at the festival, which is now in its 21st year.

Apparently ruling out Hillary Clinton as a contender for the White House he said the US would eventually sign up to an agreement regardless of whether Barack Obama or John McCain make it into the Oval Office.

“We’re confident we can get an agreement in Copenhagen in 2009 and the EU it has to be acknowledged has led the way,” he said.

“We will get the US on board. Regardless of whether (it is) Obama or McCain I think they’re coming on board.

“Then certainly we will have the developing countries, the Chinese and the Indians.”

Hay is a tiny market town in the Black Mountains of the Welsh Marches with 1,300 people and 39 bookshops.

For ten days a year over 90,000 visitors converge on the town from all over the UK and internationally to take part in the world’s largest literary and cultural festival.

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