Dig, Drill and Burn Until We’re Dead: Mainstream National Post Says What Big Greens Won’t
Compare this to yesterday’s glowing description of the Cancun climate conference by 350.org. True, if you read 350.org closely, they do confess that no firm agreement on targets or timetables was reached. In the end, what it amounted to was on the order of: “Hey, how about we all agree on targets for emissions and a fixed enforceable timetable?”; “Great idea, guys, let me get back to you”.
Let’s be brutally honest: nothing came out of Cancun except a near-unanimous (indigenous peoples and Bolivia excepted) decision that anything that would be done in the future would be purely voluntary. As the editorial below says, the world and the UN have tacitly agreed to do nothing. Big Greens (i.e. the ones with Small Ideas like 350.org) continue to be silent.
The absence of principled leadership or a unified peoples’ energy agenda in this country, and the refusal of 350.org to sign on to the Cochabamba statement means that corporate and Big Energy interests will continue to dictate American energy policy, which is no policy at all except Dig, Drill and Burn Until We’re Dead. The failure or refusal of the media to call the shots as they see them is reprehensible and even scary, because it indicates that they themselves either do not understand the gravity of the climate situation or do not care.
For 350. org, which does understand and which says it cares but stubbornly defends its refusal to articulate a tough climate and energy policy and agenda, Cancun helped polish their image if only because the group showed up. (as Woody Allen said: most of success is just showing up).
Here is 350.org again, on Cancun. Note the glowing terms: “glimpse at a path forward…feeling of momentum…refreshing….rebuilt trust…….(LS: they all know they can trust each other to do nothing).
It’s not something you hear often when it comes to climate negotiations: “progress has been made.”
At 4AM on Saturday morning in Cancun, delegates emerged from the UN negotiations, all of them sleep-deprived and most of them smiling. They had managed to agree on a foundation for future talks. The agreements that came out of Cancun won’t be enough to get the world back to 350–but they offer a glimpse at a path forward that just might.
The feeling of momentum emerging from Cancun was refreshing: countries rebuilt trust, and wrestled with difficult issues like deforestation and transparency. This trust was in serious doubt after last year’s failed negations in Copenhagen–and even in the final hours of negotiations in Cancun.
National Post editorial:
There has been much rejoicing among politicians and environmentalists following the surprise announcement Saturday that delegates to the most recent UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, had managed to reach a deal on a new climate change treaty. But try as we might, we can’t determine what the celebration is about. There’s nothing firm in the new document.
All countries, even developing countries, have agreed to cut emissions. Until Cancun, developing countries had adamantly resisted limits on their carbon dioxide emissions. So this might appear to be a significant move forward. It’s not. Countries are now able to set their own limits, and developing ones do not have to make their limits public for years. Moreover, delegates were unable to agree on whether these new limits should be legally binding or not.
Countries present agreed, too, to a compensation fund that would provide $30-billion annually to help developing countries adapt to climate change, rising to perhaps $100-billion in the future. But details of the fund were put off until next year’s summit in South Africa.
Delegates committed to easier transfer of low carbon technology to poor countries, but again postponed agreeing on details until next year or later. They agreed their claims of emission reductions should be subject to independent inspection and verification, but then tabled discussion of the inspection mechanism until next year in South Africa.
We think we see a pattern here. The devil is in the details, so agree to broad motherhood principles and delay any discussion of details as long as possible. That way dealing with the devil can be avoided indefinitely and delegates are free to continue jetting around from one resort to another for lavish annual gatherings at someone else’s expense.
What little was agreed to has no scientific basis, either. It was pure politics. Unlike the Kyoto agreement, there will be no worldwide emission target. As explained, each country will determine its own limits, and no one will question whether these targets, taken together, will be adequate to stop global warming. The UN will be allowed to check to see whether countries are keeping their pledges, or not. But if they’re not, the international body will be powerless to force them to comply.
Environmentalists seem to think this agreement is a step in the right direction. We see it as nothing more than the UN spinning its wheels.
Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/14/national-post-editorial-board-cancun-climate-deal-falls-short/#ixzz18A41G7H8