Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Copenhagen – Success or Failure?

Overall, it may seem as a failure, because the big polluters US and China wanted a weak agreement. President Obama was heavily constrained by Congress captured by lobbyists from a front group for the largest corporations in the polluting lobby, including oil and coal companies like Exxon Mobil. They were major backers of President George W Bush, and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars blocking Obama's attempts at change.

People were out in force in Copenhagen while polluter lobbyists worked in the shadows, their voices loud only in our politicians' ears.
US negotiator Todd Stern said that as far as the US was concerned the fact that climate change was happening as a result of emissions from rich countries had no relevance to the negotiations. You may have heard or read that the African countries walked out of the negotiations at one point, well this was due to the fact that the Danish hosts prevented discussion on the only legally binding agreement there is, the Kyoto Protocol.

"Copenhagen's failure was the inevitable result of rich countries refusing to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility for global warming" said Christian Aid's senior climate change advocacy officer, Nelson Muffuh.

So what good did come out of it?

There were world-wide demonstrations for climate justice, in London alone around 60,000 took part in a march, and I was one of them
100,000 marched in Copenhagen
Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a staggering 512,894 Copenhagen pledges to the United Nations in front of a crowd of thousands.
There were 3000 know climate vigils held in 140 countries.
As I write this an Avaaz climate petition now has almost 15 million signatories.
Faith groups combined under the Odyssey Network, these included Anglican, Buddhist, Hindu, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic.

As Edmund Burke was said to remark, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing” and in my books, as in the YouTube video above, good people have been doing and will continue doing much.


Anonymous said...

If people want a green world.
then stop buying Chineese products.

China frustrated the COP top,
now people of the world decide themselves.

No more "made by china" unless approved by a green label.
We make china transparent! That should be done anyway.
Digital democracy of the third millennium: how can you expect your
government to take responsibility if you do not even bother about a green
label ?

You don't have to wait tille the next top, start yourselves, start today, start small!

Andrew Clarke said...

I've believed for a long time that protecting the environment starts with individuals. I rode a bicycle back in 1979, or walked, and people thought I was a weirdo.But if we limit vehicle use to the necessary and not the lazily convenient we do a lot to reduce the greenhouse gas accumulation. It goes for waste disposal, and the avoidance of waste generation, too. People need to do it themselves rather than wait for govenments to do it. There is a lot of power, and thus responsibilty, in individual actions.