Climate Change Conference makes token cycling effort

200 bikes available for 10,000 attendees

IT probably wouldn’t have gone down well with “Two Jags” Prescott, the former UK deputy prime minister who had two luxury cars – despite helping to negotiate the Kyotoprotocol.

But the organisers of the latest UN conference on climate change which will update the protocol, have thrown down the gauntlet to ministers by asking them to use bikes when they travel between venues at the crucial talks. Government top dogs are notorious for their use of luxury gas guzzlers, but in Bali, where the UN conference is taking place, delegates have been asked to leave their cars at the gate and instead travel around the site on two wheels. Speaking at a news conference for the event, which finishes on Friday, December 14, an Indonesian environment ministry official asked attendants not to bring cars into the sprawling conference grounds.

Some 200 bicycles have been laid on in an attempt to help offset the 47,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide the event is projected to emit. The official, Agus Purnomo, said. "We want people to leave their cars at the main gate and switch to bicycles. To prevent people from melting in the sun, we will ask everyone to wear light clothes and short sleeves."

However, with some 10,000 people attending the conference, it’s unlikely all are getting access to a bike when they want one. The estimated emissions figure includes air conditioning units and flights to and from the island. Delegates from almost 190 countries have gathered in Bali to try to cement a new deal to replace the Kyoto protocol. The protocol, which was signed but not ratified by the world’s worst emissions offender, the United States, runs out in 2012.

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