After Copenhagen: Can we save the world?

Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, gave this talk in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 26, 2010, at the O Clima Farto de Nós? (Is the climate sick of us?) gathering, a conference organised by the Left Bloc of Portugal and the European Left.

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The December fiasco in Copenhagen has posed a major challenge to the left, indeed to everyone who wants to defend our world and humanity.

The world’s rich countries went to Copenhagen not to fight global warming, but to block any action that might weaken the narrow national interests of their corporate rulers. As Bolivia’s ambassador, Pablo Solón, writes:

For rich countries, the key issues in negotiations were finance, carbon markets, competitiveness of countries and corporations, business opportunities along with discussions about the political makeup of the US Senate. There was surprisingly little focus on effective solutions for reducing carbon emissions.

Even if they had reached agreement, it would have focused on the fraud of carbon trading, not on slashing carbon emissions by rapidly phasing out coal and oil, as the crisis demands.

As the summit closed, US President Barack Obama put forward a document adopted in a backroom meeting that excluded most of the delegates and that ignored the concerns of most of the world’s nations without discussion. With no timelines, no targets, and no enforcement mechanism, the “Copenhagen Accord” is a huge step backwards.

The Kyoto Protocol was clearly inadequate, but as Fidel Castro wrote recently, the Copenhagen Accord is “nothing more than a joke”.

The so-called world leaders spoke passionately to the cameras about the need to fight climate change. But that was just theatre: in practice, they wrecked hopes for a meaningful fight.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez pointed out the striking contrast between the rich nations’ response to climate change and their response to the banking crisis. He quoted one of the banners in the demonstration outside: “If the climate were a bank, they would have saved it by now.”

For the full article please click HERE



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