Saturday, December 19, 2009
Copenhagen: Disappointment and Hope
It's hard not to be depressed about the way the Copenhagen summit ended in chaos, failure, and shame.
Or angry like George Monbiot.
First they put the planet in square brackets, now they have deleted it from the text. At the end it was no longer about saving the biosphere: it was just a matter of saving face...
This has not happened by accident: it is the result of a systematic campaign of sabotage by certain states, driven and promoted by the energy industries. Corporate profits and political expediency have proved more urgent considerations than either the natural world or human civilisation.
Or bitter like Johann Hari, over all the good ideas the summit leaders discarded.
Discarded Idea One: The International Environmental Court. Any cuts that leaders claim they would like as a result of Copenhagen will be purely voluntary. If a government decides not to follow them, nothing will happen, except a mild blush, and disastrous warming. Canada signed up to cut its emissions at Kyoto, and then increased them by 26 per cent – and there were no consequences. Copenhagen could unleash a hundred Canadas.
And their failure to accept the obvious.
We will have to pay higher taxes and fly less to make the leap to a renewably powered world – but we will still be able to live an abundant life where we are warm and free and well fed. The only real losers will be the fossil fuel corporations and the petro-dictatorships.
But our politicians have not chosen this sane path. No: they have chosen inertia and low taxes and oil money today over survival tomorrow.
It's all true and beyond disgusting. But strangely enough I also feel encouraged by what I saw. The rich nations and the poor ones may have screamed at each other, but at least they're fighting over the future of the planet. Talking about the REAL problems that threaten our common survival.
And that will inevitably lead to the trial of a global economic system that allows some to live lives of greedy luxury, while condemning others to lives of poverty and misery. A world where a billion human beings go to bed hungry every night.
Because we won't be able to save the planet, from climate change or anything else, unless we change that inhuman system.
Change the system, save the world, save the poor, save the children...
As John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace U.K. said tonight:
It is now evident that beating global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one on display here in Copenhagen."
If Stephen Harper and the planet destroyers think the battle is over, they should know that it's just BEGINNING.
This time there were tens of thousands in the streets.
Next time there will be MILLIONS...