Can Climate Progress Succeed Without U.S.?

"This is going to affect future generations very importantly. I think if we do manage to put a process in place here in Bali, and two years later that process results in a really ambitious climate change regime, then our children and grandchildren will look back and say grandma and granddad really did do something to avoid us being confronted with severe impacts of climate change.

"And if we don't manage to launch a process here and we don't manage to conclude negotiations in 2009, I think that your grandchildren will have a very different view of you," de Boer added..

De Boer emphasized that this conference could not solve climate change problems or find agreement on previously raised specifics, such as the proposal to halve emissions, by the middle of the century.

Likening the situation to Neil Armstrong's moon landing statement in reverse, de Boer said, "We've taken a giant leap for man but a very small step for mankind," explaining that enormous strides have been made in measuring the effects of climate change but not on acting on those calculations.

De Boer called Bali a landmark meeting at which politicians are going to have to face the message from scientists and be asked important questions.

"What is your response to what the scientists are telling you? What are you going to do about this?" de Boer said. "I hope there will be a bold answer."

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