Yesterday Canada again received the fossil of the day award for undermining progress on climate change negotiations.
But let’s step away from this for a moment. The economic crash of 2008 was a consequence of amoral and reprehensible behavior. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the movie “Inside Job” … google and you can legally download it for free … and you get the bonus (?) of Matt Damon as the narrator. Fast forward to today and we have a looming global economic crises without any obvious bail-out escape routes, like before. The consequences of such an economic recession are dire on top of existing woes, and critical for developing nations. A gloomy eventuality built on the amoral greed of the few, and the indecisiveness of lobbied-leadership.
Now switch focus, zoom down to COP-17, Durban, South Africa, and look through the telescope of time at the journey through Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancun, all the way back to Rio ’92 and beyond. The increasing cry of urgent action, common but differentiated responsibility, the intransigence of leadership rooted in national self interest, and the conflict of values producing a melting pot of wicked gruel that feeds an acceleration of climate change.
OK, heady stuff you may say. Tone it down, you might think. Let’s have some perspective you’d suggest?
Well, how about this for perspective: our emissions now are worse than our worst case scenario that we postulated years ago! Multiple indicators across the globe show an increase in change that are synergistic with the understanding of global energy increase from anthropogenic forcing. How much more perspective do we need?
Now marry the two: global economic recession on the back of degraded capacity to dig ourselves out, and selfish inaction on climate change while impacts increase. Together they multiply the exceedence of thresholds in the societal systems of nations. And the leading consequence? Those already on the edge of thresholds are first to be pushed over … the poor, the vulnerable.
Perhaps COP-17 is the reception of a wedding?
But: why is the audience so quiet?