From Bali in 2007 (when we still thought we had a chance to get it right) to Poznan (where nothing whatsoever seemed to happen), then from Copenhagen in 2009 (where Obama and his henchmen, including the prime minister of my country, threw every climate change activist in the world into a depression of some duration) to Cancun in 2010 (where the very courageous Pablo Solón representing Bolivia was the lone voice for a rapid and scientifically rationale response to the emergency), the UN's climate change negotiations have become more and more circus-like.
As in circus: |ˈsərkəs| A traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places.
The Durban Climate Change Conference starts one month from tomorrow, and will run from November 29 to December 9, 2011. Durban is a (mostly) lovely seaside city in South Africa; too bad it, too, will be turned into a circus. (The name "Copenhagen" is now associated with farce and failure.)
We've had a Bali Road Map, a Copenhagen Accord (see? nothing happened in Poznan, Poland), a set of Cancun Agreements — and still, absolutely NO national or international declaration that we've reached "dangerous interference with the climate system" (a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change trick: if we don't declare it, we don't have to do anything about it). NO declaration that we're in a global climate change emergency. NO emergency response. NO result from any of these conferences that has actually led to any nation, anywhere, moving toward a zero-carbon economy. (Even the disappearing Maldive Islands are only heading for carbon neutrality, not zero carbon.)
Where's our global imagination? Why aren't we excited about working together to envision the zero-carbon economy? (After all, it'll be safer, cleaner, healthier, more equitable and more peaceful than what we've got now!) Why do our leaders and negotiators feel such disdain for our (and their own) children and grandchildren? For our whole species? For life itself? Why do they act the role of such ecologically illiterate, callous clowns when they get together at these climate change conferences?
May this year's negotiators keep the world's most vulnerable, the children of all species, and future generations in their hearts and minds as they do their negotiating. Who else could they possibly think they're negotiating for???
Hey, great cartoon, eh? I commissioned it from Stephanie McMillan, award-winning editorial cartoonist. If you want to use it, let me know and I'll send you a high quality version. Visit her Code Green website to see more ("Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..."), or to commission your own cartoon.