Some of the very surreal aspects of the Bali Climate Change conference are the setting, the cast of players and how this contrasts with the gravity of the issues that we are here to deal with.

Bali is a beautiful place. And the conference is being held in one of the grandest hotels on the island, the WestIn, in the resort area of Nusa Dua. Rumours abound that in the next week, in addition to the 15000 delegates already here, we will be graced by the presence of a cavalcade of stars, including, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, George Clooney, Al Gore, Arnie the Terminator and Leonardo DiCaprio.

All that wealth, all that beauty……

I am constantly reminding myself of the fact that just outside the doors are the low lying islands of Indonesia, vulnerable to rising sea levels and the enduring weight of poverty. In the Asian region are millions of people, who are the most vulnerable to climate change, because of rising sea level, decreasing snow melt, drying and dying rivers and more extreme weather events.

So is it reasonable if all these stars descend on the conference, assuming that they come? Are they just here to get the limelight from the concentration of hard working NGOs, both international and local, who are fighting for climate justice, or will they be just catching their own publicity?

In my view the answer is yes, it’s good that they are here – and the reason? Well, they are all Americans, and the USA is doing its damndest to derail these negotiations and kill the international framework that is our only real chance of protecting the world from climate change.

So if Brad, Cameron, Al, George Leonardo and/or Arnie can build more people power in the US, and send a clear message to the Bush Administration, then they are welcome.

Steve C