21 December 2010

Cancun Climate Conference - Another Dismal Failure

Reposted from Jobsanger

Another United Nations conference on how to prevent the fast approaching global climate change was just concluded -- this time in Cancun, Mexico. And just reading the media accounts and listening to the government representatives at the conference, a person might get the idea that a lot was accomplished and the world is well on the way toward solving the problem.

U.S. negotiator Todd Stern said, "What we have now is a text that, while not perfect, is certainly a good basis for moving forward." That should tell us something right there. The U.S. is happy with the results of the conference, which means that nothing concrete or binding was agreed to during the conference, and the giant polluting corporations can breathe a little easier since they won't be required to clean up their act.

The United States, the only nation that didn't sign the Kyoto Agreement (which rendered it useless), has always been one of the major stumbling blocks in reaching an agreement that would stop (or even slow down) global climate change. So if the U.S. is happy, then nothing significant was accomplished.

The conference did do a couple of things. It created a fund of $100 billion a year through the year 2020 to help developing nations stop deforestation and keep their carbon footprint small. In plain English, they agreed that the taxpayers in the United States and other developed countries should pay the developing countries to keep their oil use low (so the developed nations can keep hogging most of it). The problem with this is that it's not these developing nations that are dumping most of the carbon emissions into the air, so that does little or nothing to stop global climate change.

The conference also agreed that deeper (but still inadequate) cuts in carbon emissions are needed. But they did not agree to any kind of binding agreement on how that was to be accomplished, or how much any nation would be required to cut. All they did was to kick that political can a little further down the road.

There was only one nation that emerged from the conference telling the truth -- Bolivia. The Bolivian delegation chief, Pablo Solon, said, "We're talking about a reduction in emissions of 13-16%, and what this means is an increase of more than 4C. Responsibly, we cannot go along with this -- this would mean we went along with a situation that my president has termed 'ecocide and genocide'."

The Bolivian delegation is absolutely right. The Cancun conference was a dismal failure and solved nothing. The countries will meet about a year from now in South Africa and try again. But even though we'll be a year closer to the tipping point of global climate change (the point at which it cannot be stopped or significantly mitigated), I doubt much will be accomplished there either. The giant corporations are too powerful in the developed world, and it is the developed world that must do most of the cutting of carbon emissions (thus harming short-term corporate profits).

Maybe T.S. Eliot was right. Maybe the world will end with a whimper rather than a bang. And it'll be pollution and global climate change that causes the whimpering.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are welcome!
Please use the Name/URL option (you don't have to register, just enter a screen-name) or sign your anonymous post at the bottom.