10. 12. 2009

Booze and bracket-bashing – inside the real Copenhagen ‘junket’

As you read the daily reports from Copenhagen, spare a thought for the hundreds of environmental and development activists out there, keeping the cause of ‘climate justice’ under the noses of government delegations, UN Officials and the media.

It always amuses me when I hear sarcastic journalists refer to these conferences as ‘junkets’ or ‘jamborees’.

In reality they are more like a descent into hell, with delegates surrounded on the one hand by the demons of utter mind-numbing tedium, and on the other by the gremlins of mischievous government delegations intent on emasculating any final agreement.

The formal process is focussed on the draft text, which summarises that agreement with much of its text still in brackets. These brackets can only be removed via unanimous agreement between all government delegations.

It’s often the same ones (from Saudi Arabia onwards!) that stick to their oil-drenched arguments, yielding as little as they can possibly get away with short of total opprobrium descending upon them as other delegations get angrier and angrier.

That goes on for days, until the elected politicians bowl up next week, and it starts all over again.

The only escape for knackered greenies is alcohol, liver-numbing quantities of which are consumed every evening.

That’s what life is like for the poor sods that have to do the work in the formal conference. Far more stimulation is available for those attending the informal, largely NGO conference (the Klimaforum in Copenhagen), buzzing away on the margins of the government negotiations.

Every now and again positive messages flow out of the NGO forum to cause a bit of a stir inside the conference, but nothing like as often or as powerfully as the negative energy flowing in the other direction.

Which is exactly what happened on Tuesday, when a document leaked to the Guardian revealed a ‘secret text’ put together by a group of rich countries (including the UK and the US), which pretty much undermines every single aspect of the tortuous negotiations that have been going on over the last two years.

Inside the conference venue the bracket-bashing goes on uninterrupted. But when something like that happens, everything else goes pear-shaped. Anger, incredulity, rage, despair and dark, demonic humour take over until the alcohol kicks in.

Some junket!

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18. 07. 2012

I really think the cotnruy-club mentality of the Region has been broken by a new slate of councillors. Particularly Andy Petrowski. We can be cynical about anyones life and the decisions they make. But that is not related to the job or task at hand. The task is to democraticize and re-invigorize the Regional Council. How many Niagarians feel like they have a say in governing? I have been involved in all levels of government, and I for certain don't feel like I have a say. But than again, I am an inexperienced student. I haven't had alot of experience within local politics, but as Alexis de Tocqueville stated that local government is the like the hands of God-closest to the people, and it always should. This motion has been politicized, and unfortunately McMullan felt he was more qualified a politician to bring forward this motion. That should be insulting not only to Petrowski, but to all citizens. Now the decision-makers are based on experience? I didn't know there were qualifications within democracy. I grant, as a citizen all the power to the new councillors to challenge the status quo and this sense of entitlement that often is the reason things do not get done. As a democrat, I would rather see disagreement, rather than saturated consensus all the time. But with that I think that this motion (as bogus as it is in words to a degree), it is a step in the right direction. And it is up to council to create a more democratic environment within Niagara.

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