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THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

COPENHAGEN 2009


THE FAILURE OF TODAY'S WORLD ORDER

BEFORE A GATHERING STORM


SOME RELEVANT NEWS REPORTS


"The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through.  We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis. "During the year a number developing countries showed a willingness to accept their share of the burden to avert climate chaos. But in the end, the blame for failure mostly lies with the rich industrialized world, countries which have the largest historic responsibility for causing the problem. In particular, the US failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down."  (Greenpeace)

"The budget of the United States is US$687 billion for defense. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful."  Bolivian President Evo Morales

"Do the rich think they can go to another planet when they've destroyed this one?"  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

"If the climate were a bank, they would have bailed it out already."  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Lumumba Di-Aping, Leader of 77 Poorest Nations.  "$10 billion is not enough to buy us coffins".   "What is Obama going to tell his daughters? That their [Kenyan] relatives' lives are not worth anything? It is unfortunate that after 500 years-plus of interaction with the West we [Africans] are still considered 'disposables' ... My good friends…we've got to get together and fight the fight."


Expectations were not very high for the conference.  However, nobody expected the total and complete failure to reach any kind of binding agreement

Many people seem to be in a state of denial about what is happening.   The bottom line is that the current world political order is not prepared to pay the bloody political and economic cost of reform.  See WFF Climate Change Cost Report  

The key point that ruined the conference was the refusal of the rich nations, particularly America, to provide any meaningful aid to the poor.

In the United States the climate change reform plan proposed by Obama has collapsed.  

A number of other factors are likely to delay real reform.

The possibility of "carbon capture" or other unproven technologies actually working to "clean" up coal is virtually certain to delay most efforts to shift away from coal.

Also, fake promises of aid to the poor by the rich are likely to postpone tough choices among the poor nations.  One potential redeeming aspect of the conference was the pathetic nature of the aid promised by the rich to the poor, a tiny fraction of what's needed.

Rising nations like China have made it clear they will totally oppose binding caps on emissions.

The global economic train wreck produced by America's sick economy in 2008 has cast a huge shadow.  Trillions of dollars has been removed from the world economy to try to cope with the mess produced by America.  This leaves far less money for other matters.

Finally there is the matter of the weak and incompetent leadership of the main U.S. "environmental groups".   Under their "leadership" concerns about environmental matters have hit a 20 year low in America.

This has grim implications for the whole global environmental situation.  Climate change is simply a part of larger environmental problems.

The problem is that time is not our friend.  Natural realities cannot be contained by political "realities".  In Medieval England King Canute tried to order the tide to go out.  It did not work.  The laws of nature cannot be bribed or manipulated by media consultants.

Time has already run out to avoid massive problems in this area and other environmental areas.

As some have observed, it may be time to junk the whole idea of an international conference in the near term and focus on agreements among the G-20 nations.

Whatever happens, the sands of time are moving faster and faster.  Reform is needed now.


Copenhagen Conference

Copenhagen Conference Website

Copenhagen Accord (PDF)


News Coverage

Representatives of rich countries try to give impression of cuts without reality. Click here. (Common Dreams, 12/11/2009)

U.S. Negotiator dismisses reparations for Climate. Click here. (New York Times, 12/09/2009)

Interview with Naomi Klein on lack of progress in Copenhagen. Click here. (Huffington Post, 12/15/2009)

Obama's speech disappointing. No further commitments on reducing emissions. Click here. (The Guardian, 12/18/2009)

"Developing countries must give more at Copenhagen," Indonesia says. Click here. (Earth Times, 12/15/2009)


Some Relevant Speeches - Text

Click here for a transcript of President Obama's Copenhagen speech and here for a transcript of the press conference that followed. (White House, 12/18/2009)

Click here for translation of the speech at Copenhagen of Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China. (12/18/2009)

Click here for a full transcript of President Lula's speech at Copenhagen.

Video

Click here for a video of highlights from both the Morales and Chavez speeches.

You can find a Youtube video of Venezuela's President Chavez'  speech to the assembly in Copenhagen by clicking here (Spanish). For part 2 click here. For part 3 click here and here for the English transcript.

Click here for the joint press conference by Morales and Chavez.

Click here for Bolivian President Morales' comments during a press conference at Copenhagen, here for a Youtube video (Spanish) of Morales speech to the Copenhagen Assembly and here for a transcript (Spanish). ( 12/18/2009).


Reactions to Copenhagen

For a Greenpeace statement on the Copenhagen Conference click here.

"Not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding. The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.
 
"The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through.
 
"We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis. "During the year a number developing countries showed a willingness to accept their share of the burden to avert climate chaos. But in the end, the blame for failure mostly lies with the rich industrialised world, countries which have the largest historic responsibility for causing the problem. In particular, the US failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down.

For the Friends of the Earth statement on the Copenhagen Conference click here.

"Climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate.

View of 77 Poor Nations

"We have been asked to sign a suicide pact." says Lumumba Di-Aping, speaker for the G-77 poor nations. Click here.  Some excellent quotes in this article.

South Africa considers Copenhagen a failure. Click here.

Copenhagen was an all-out Failure. Click here. (Der Spiegel, 12/21/2009)

Germany's environment minister blames Copenhagen failure on United States and China. Click here. (Deutsche Welle, 12/26/2009)

Germany's environment minister Norbert Röttgen interviewed on Copenhagen. Click here. (Der Spiegel, 12/28/2009)

New York Times publishes reactions from a cross section of politicians, industry representatives and environment advocates. Click here.

James Hansen, NASA's chief scientist, writes op-ed on Copenhagen. Click here. (The Guardian, 12/27/2009)

Five Reasons the Copenhagen Conference failed. Click here. (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Markets)

Naomi Klein blames failure of Copenhagen Conference on Obama. Click here. (The Guardian, 12/19/2009)