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Palmer Louis
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When the whole worlds is talking about Global Warming, it's time to show the solutions!

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The Day After Bali16.12.2007

Tags: Rainbow Warrior       Comments: 0

Louis Palmer and his Solar Taxi crew are on their way to New Zealand on board the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior". At last there’s time to reflect on polar bears, oil and booing at the UN.

Today we boarded the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" and are now heading for Auckland, New Zealand. Bali is already behind us. It’s all thanks to a polar bear that we’re on board at all.


Res, a young Swiss man who had donned Greenpeace’s polar bear costume and was waddling around in it at the Conference, mentioned in passing a week ago that the "Rainbow Warrior" was lying just off Bali. After a spontaneous visit from us, Captain Mike Fincken invited us to join his crew on their journey to the Land of 20 Million Sheep – New Zealand. So there was a quick change of scene. 24 hours ago we were driving away from the Conference in the Solar Taxi and now we’re on the high seas.

Time for a break and a bit of a rest. We’re set to arrive in New Zealand on the 13th of January. We have four long weeks without shore leave ahead of us. What are we going to do on deck for all that time? I know! Review the events of past two weeks.

At the opening of the Bali Conference, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Council or IPCC, which had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the previous Monday, urged all delegates to act, otherwise:

  • the expansion of the warmer water and the melting of the Arctic polar ice caps would cause sea levels to rise by 1.5 metres
  • 70 percent of all plant and animal species could become extinct
  • global temperatures would increase by between 2.5 and 5 degrees
  • water shortages and floods would cause mass migration, wars and conflicts.

On Friday morning, officially the last day of the Conference, I picked Mr Pachauri up from his hotel and drove him to the Conference. During the drive I asked him what would happen if his warnings were not taken seriously, if Bali failed. His answer: a great many people will be very, very angry.

The first Solar Taxi passenger to travel with his knees tucked under his chin

We’ll never forget the Conference. Wherever we turned up with the Solar Taxi, we were greeted with smiles and the many trips we made with ministers, delegates and press representatives provided us with a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes.

We even took Australia’s brand-new Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, for a spin. Australia was for many years opposed to any restriction on greenhouse gas emissions but a new government was elected three weeks ago, which has just signed the Kyoto Protocol. Peter Garrett first made a name for himself about fifteen years ago as lead singer of the rock group "Midnight Oil", singing about the destruction of the environment.

We finally got the green light from his aides and picked him up in his hotel. A giant appeared! Peter Garrett was the first passenger who wasn’t able to stretch his legs out in the Solar Taxi, but he still drove two rounds with us through Nusa Dua and told us to look him up if we were ever passing through Canberra.

"Take a leadership role!"

I was amazed to be told suddenly that we were to pick up Stéphane Dion, the head of the Canadian delegation. Canada is also not exactly a model country in terms of climate protection, for the following reasons. The country is home to the world’s second-largest oil reserves. The ‘black gold’ is hidden in sand rock. Extracting it was regarded as too expensive for a long time, but since the oil price has skyrocketed extraction has suddenly become worthwhile. The USA needs huge quantities of oil from stable suppliers and Canada can deliver. And it is delivering, so CO2 emissions have increased considerably since 1990.

We went to meet Mr Dion and found out from his aides that there were in fact two Canadian Delegations at the conference - a government delegation and an opposition delegation. Mr Dion is leader of the opposition and might even be Canada’s next Prime Minister.

Since Mr Dion had some time, I took him to see Bianca Jagger, chair of the World Future Council (and ex-wife of Mick Jagger). Bianca Jagger was also disappointed in Canada, which she otherwise regards as a very progressive country. She stated her view that the country should take on a more significant role in combating climate change. "Canada should take a leadership role in the fight against global warming!"

Erik goes home

On Saturday afternoon, as negotiations were ending, 24 hours later than planned, an Indian passenger, beaming and visibly relieved at the results of the Conference, said "I don’t think there have ever been as many “boos” against anyone in the history of the UN as there were today against the USA. In the end the Americans gave in. Thank God."

Yesterday our fellow crewmember Erik left us to fly back to Berlin with the videotapes he’s been recording since Delhi to make a documentary out of them. Now we’re just waiting for a TV station to show some interest...



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