Monday, 21 December 2009

No Deal In Copenhagen

There was plenty of disgrace to go around in Copenhagen.

The world's worst per capita warmer is the US, yet its president turned up offering a pathetic 4 per cent cut by 2020. He caved to the oil and gas lobbies who. It was a terrible betrayal of his own country's national security. In 2004, a leaked Pentagon report warned that unchecked global warming would ensure "disruption and conflict will be endemic ... [and] once again, warfare would define human life." Yes we can? No he didn't.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao behaved similarly, his country is the single largest overall emitter of gases. Yet he vetoed the 80 per cent target by 2050, and refused to allow other countries to carry out basic checks to ensure China was carrying out the smaller cuts they were committed to. Again, he is betraying his own people: most of China's population depend on rivers that flow down from the Himalayan glaciers, yet they are rapidly disappearing. His name will be cursed in the Chinese history books.

The European Union was hardly better. They sat, refusing to make any larger offer to get the ball rolling. Commenting on Obamas plan European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said "This accord is better than no accord, but clearly below our ambition." Brown fails to save the world, shock.

Johann Harri at the Huffingdon Post said
The most they could agree was to officially "note" the scientific evidence about C -- with no roadmap to keep us this side of it. You get a sense of how valuable this "noting" is when you look at the things the conference also "noted": the hard work of the airport security staff, and the quality of the catering in the Bella Centre. It seems impossible, but our leaders really did give the stability of our climate the same status as their praise for Danish sandwiches.
The time for changing your light-bulbs and hoping for the best is over.

It is time to take collective action. For some people, that will mean joining Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or the Campaign Against Climate Change and helping them pile on the pressure. But those who can go further -- by taking non-violent direct action -- should do so. Every coal train should be ringed with people refusing to let it pass. Every new runway should be blockaded. The cost of trashing the climate needs to be raised.

It works. Look at Britain. Three years ago, eight new coal power stations were being planned, and the third runway at Heathrow was all but inevitable. A few thousand heroic young people took direct action against them. Now all the new coal power stations have been canceled, and the third runway is dead in the water. Here in the fifth largest economy in the world, they have stopped coal and airport expansion. Politicians felt the heat. That was done by a few thousand people. Imagine what tens or hundreds of thousands could do. There need to be parallel movements to this in every country on earth (and a much bigger one in Britain). Copenhagen had one value, and one value alone. It has shown us that if we don't act in our own self-defence now, nobody else will.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of the G77 bloc of least developed nations, said there was no deal. "What has happened today confirms what we have been suspicious of that a deal will be imposed by United States, with the help of the Danish government, on all nations of the world," he said.

The IG77 bloc of developing countries heard about it watching Obama on TV. As they examine the text, they realise very quickly that it effectively condemns their continent to a century of devastating temperature rises.

This "deal" is beyond bad. It contains no legally binding targets and no indication of when or how they will come about. There is not even a declaration that the world will aim to keep global temperature rises below 2C°. Instead, leaders merely recognise the science behind that vital threshold, as if that were enough to prevent us crossing it.

The only part of this deal that anyone sane came close to welcoming was the $100bn global climate fund, but it's now apparent that even this is largely made up of existing budgets, with no indication of how new money will be raised and distributed so that poorer countries can go green and adapt to climate change.

"This is not a strong deal or a just one--it isn't even a real one," said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth US. "The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate."

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