Meaningful, I’m not so sure

Clock
The clock is ticking.

Key states have announced what they call a “meaningful” agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Summit to tackle climate change. The agreement between the US, China, Brazil, India and South Africa would set a mitigation target to limit warming to no more than 2C and, importantly, to take action to meet this objective.

The five-nation brokered deal promised to deliver $30bn of aid for developing nations over the next three years, and outlined a goal of providing $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change. The agreement also included a method for verifying industrialised nations’ reduction of emissions. The US had insisted that China dropped its resistance to this measure.

However, it seems that only the US and China are supposedly “happy” from a meeting which seemingly had a “positive result”, or rather, what I term as a poor return from the 2 weeks worth of discussion.

In the face of a globalized world and the many challenges that we face, what the US and China put forth together seemingly only benefits them. For instance, nothing is done about limiting carbon emissions and on a legally binding treaty, something which sort of “liberalizes” the major powers in the form of US, China and India. With US out of Kyoto and the lack of a legally binding contract, China and India can be said to be free to do whatever they want, with all three nations insisting that national sovereignty comes first.

Now, I’m not saying national sovereignty should be ignored, but as we attempt to tackle a problem that we should have been engaged in long ago, we realize that the Copenhagen Accord, as Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament’s environment committee described, is a completely “disappointment and below our expectations”.

Selfish interests of the global powers dominated the discussion table in Copenhagen, while the rest of the world are let down by their inability to co-operate and come up with a more radical approach to the problem. Yes, this is progress from what has come before, a necessity, but whether it will truly solve the problem, no. The roots of the problem ultimately lie in the countries’ inability to break out of their shell – their inability to come to a solid-enough compromise, and their covert belief that the economy should come first. This inability to commit to this cause from the US, China and India seemingly portrays them in a green limelight.

Progress has been made, yes, but it’s no longer about the ability to make progress, that almost didn’t happen, but rather, how fast we can reach humanity’s goal.

The clock is ticking.

1 Comment

  1. Wei Seng says:

    It’s pretty hard to imagine what it will take to make the major economies and other developing countries reconcile their differences to commit to something legally-binding and revolutionary. I hope it wont take some planetary-scale disaster, but that appears to be the only possibility. (That’s the pessimist in me speaking)

    Still, I am amazed that the major economies have all conjured some figures to commit themselves to (albeit non-bindingly) reducing their emissions. That at least is a start.

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