A number of organisations have been gathering round some key concepts to promote for the upcoming Copenhagen Treaty make-or-break Climate Change talks in December.
Ambitious. Fair. Binding. Effective. All those meaty, emotionally positive values.
But a Binding treaty – that could turn out to be worse than a nuisance – if that Binding treaty means we lock ourselves into funding expensive mega construction projects like new Nuclear Power and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
Ambitious ? That’s just a code word for Carbon Pricing – raising the political will to raise the revenue necessary to incentivise private corporations to provide the aforementioned new Nuclear build and CCS.
And Fair ? I mean, what’s not to like about the word “fair” ? Except that’s a code word for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Reduced Deforestation (REDD), supposedly ways of creating funds flow from the industrialised countries to the developing countries whilst reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
There are already big problems with the CDM, and REDD will probably suffer similar issues : ordinary people around the world will lose their land rights, and ancient forests will be removed. And there’s no guarantee that “heating gas” will be controlled or reduced by these measures.
Support all those lovely values if you like. But it will all end in tears when you realise you’ve been supporting the continued plundering of the Earth and the oppression of her peoples.
What we really need is direct and public funding of alternative Energy infrastructure, so that Carbon pricing means something.
I mean, what is the point in pricing Carbon if people don’t have a choice to use clean Energy instead of forking out for dirty Energy ? Yes, some revenues will be collected, to plough into large construction projects, but new Nuclear and CCS will not “mature” for decades, so in the meantime people will be still burning Carbon. Will emissions be capped or dropped ? Unenforceable.
Plus, all the really effective measures, regulations and policies are not that expensive, although they require massive public support : insulation, insulation, insulation; walk and ride and don’t drive; relocalisation of food; universal Energy Conservation; Energy Efficiency laws for all products.
Be careful what you rally for. It might sound nice, it may ring right, but it’s more of the same failed market-based policymaking that got us into this mess in the first place : high consumption for high returns; funnelling public funds into private wealth via “public works” projects.