19. 12. 2007

Bali - the final analysis

So that’s Bali done: a binding timetable agreed – for more talks through to the end of 2009. And an agreement for something more substantial to slow deforestation - by 2013.

Against such meagre pickings, I wonder how Bali will be remembered in the annals of climate change diplomacy? A "good beginning" as Ban Ki-Moon put it, conveniently forgetting that this was exactly how the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was described, and exactly how the Kyoto Protocol was subsequently described as well.

A “tawdry, ineffective compromise”, as I heard one NGO representative describe it, bitterly aware of the fact that what was being compromised, yet again, was the integrity of the life support systems on which we all depend.

Or maybe as “a crazy game of global chicken”, with the EU and the US eye-balling each other through deadlocked negotiations, determined not to be the one to flinch first.

My favourite, at this stage, is “the final shaming of America”. Al Gore’s words, not mine, uttered in despair at the implacable intransigence of the Bush administration’s negotiators, offered with his right arm stretched over his chest as if he was standing in front of the American flag, as if seeking some inner strength in order to say such ‘unpatriotic’ things.

But the thank God a few Americans are actually saying them. I spent quite a bit of this year reading books about the role of America in a post-9/11 world – John Gray’s Black Mass:Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, and most recently, Naomi Kline’s astonishing Shock Doctrine. It numbs the mind to have to come to terms with the utterly hateful force and reach of today’s US imperium, a truly ‘evil empire’ if ever there was one.

To have so comprehensively lost America as an international ‘force for good’, at a time when the world needs more than ever that kind of energy and generosity of spirit that America brought to bear on post-war Europe in the 20th century, has to be just about the most depressing aspect of today’s disintegrating world.

Anyway, I have got cheerier books set aside for the holiday season, lots of novels (for which there is normally never enough time), lots of diversions and distractions – as well as a few upbeat eco-tracts as well!

All of which means that I am temporarily taking leave of absence from the Blog for the next three weeks, by which time I can only hope the debacle that was Bali will have already faded fittingly away.

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Comments

31. 12. 2007
Neil Craig

Yep looks like going nuclear will be the only way to keep going while reducing CO2. But then it always did.

Which is why everybody who really believed that catastrophic warming was taking place were always strongly supportive of nuclear.

That would leave James Lovelock & Hugh Montefiore & er well nobody much as Greens who actually believe the Luddite rubbish they spout.

15. 01. 2008
Jocelyn

The U.S a force for good? When exactly? When they reluctantly decided to join the second world war after a rude awakening that the result might actually threaten them, or the post-war efforts at americanising eco-friendly cultures and planting economies that they could immensly benefit from? The U.S have always been a country about grabbing opportunities, expanding, growing, renewing. Perhaps it harks back to its very formation when the pioneers came from the shores of Brittania, ready to make the most of what they found there in order to survive.

What-ever the case, it was a mistake, overpopulation in Britain as in the entire world today has devalued the lives of both humans and animals. Thanks to the laws of carrying capacity, it can't go on. Human numbers will grow as long as there are resources to consume, and when resources become unstable, so too will human populations. It makes no difference what we do, people can only exist as long as there is food and water and air to keep them alive.

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