Make Copenhagen Treaty “Meaty”

Phone your leader : http://bit.ly/6PNXMq

Sign the Greenpeace Petition : http://bit.ly/5k9aDj

Sign the Avaaz Petition : http://bit.ly/5sUuf1

There’s one thing we know : the Earth does not compromise. Politicians might think that they can compromise with the Science; and worse still, the Climate Change Deniers might think that they can compromise the public mind, but in the end the Data will have the final say.

One day, the fringe, radical opinion will be called upon by those at the centre of the debate. Not a debate about whether the climate is changing or not, but the negotiations about who will do what.

Some currently argue that the West was won (and the North) by the immoral earnings from the deep South (and the far East) : the industrialised countries have accrued their wealth on the basis of historical and continuing exploitation of the systems of trade and finance, to garner to their store all the material resource riches of the whole world.

This historical inequality, this chute of nature, taking food, minerals, fuels sliding Northwards and Westwards : for this the rich should pay : Carbon rights should not be “grandfathered” : the rich should not assume they have the free right to continue polluting as they have in the past. The rich should pay up on their historical debt.

Personally, I’m not convinced. Not by the argument on how the rich became rich and richer still. That documentation of historical fact is, indeed, fact. The West and North have the Rest of the World (ROW) to thank for their prosperity, and want to keep the same wealth-accumulation machine running.

The industrialised countries love the sound of spending money – throw money at the poorest countries in the name of “technology transfer” and watch the money come back to Western and Northern companies who take the clean technology to the ROW. Development was ever thus, in agriculture, machines, medicines.

What I’m not convinced by is this : that the industrialised countries can politically afford to spend the kind of money that will make a real difference. The public hand is on the tiller/rudder when it comes to money. The public can vote. They like a little charity, giving in the name of. But they don’t like radical economic adjustment. They will question how the money is spent. They will demand reparation. They will moan, whinge, groan, gripe, complain and make obstruction.

World leaders have arrived at Copenhagen with their fists stuffed full of printed paper money. But some of it is drawn from already-pledged commitments on Aid and Development. Some of it is vapourware : the money will never arrive.

Money is like mud, in a slide : it pours out of the waterlogged lake that bursts a bank, where it looks quite impressive, but spreads out so thinly over the surrounding area that it has no long-term effect (unless you happen to live directly under the lake wall).

Money is murky, like mud : it doesn’t always end up with the right people, and it doesn’t always pay for the things it should.

Money is a minefield : you can always spend more and still never root out the problem.

For the problem is this : Climate Change is already bringing measurable harm to several poor regions of the world, and yet they are still in debt to the rich regions of the world. Any money given by the rich countries to the poor countries for Adaptation to the detrimental effects of Climate Change, the alleviation of the damage, will only put the poor countries back in the same position as before : unable to develop because of the imbalanced trading arrangements and the leeching debts.

What are these debts ? For what purpose were they given ? Why are they still being repaid ?

Throwing money at Climate Change cannot cure the underlying scourge of odious debt.

Several years ago, early into the new Millenium, I read a summary of the figures, and it shocked me, truly :-

20 years ago, the Global South owed 600 billion Euros. In the last 20 years, the Global South has repaid 4,000 billion Euros on that debt. Today, the Global South still needs to repay 2,350 billion Euros.

Yes, some debt has been cancelled, theoretically, since then. But why is the Global North still demanding the repayment on any of these loans ?

Money will not solve Climate Change problems for the Global South, while there is still this kind of Debt.

Money will not make the Copenhagen Treaty “meaty”.

The only thing that will pull the Copenhagen Treaty into shape is real and serious commitment to cuts in Carbon Emissions.

In my view, everyone should stop bickering and balloting about money and start pledging to reduce pollution.

Zero Carbon or bust.

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