Here we are, in the middle of the annual United Nations climate conference (known as the 19th Conference of the Parties or COP 19) being held in Warsaw ... and who gives a flying leap? As Canada's CBC News explains:
"Expectations for this one are even lower than usual, after the disappointments and plodding progress of the last few conferences."Even that is overstating it. There has been no "progress" at these conferences at all. Some activists never got over the crash-and-burn fiasco (and complete loss of hope for global action) at the Copenhagen COP in 2009. (Remember Hopenhagen? Remember why I started this blog?) But hey, nice logo, eh?
No, negotiators from almost 200 countries just sit in a big hall and talk, and then they sit and talk some more, and sit and talk and sit and talk. And in the end, they dramatically stay up all night so that they can agree to maybe sort of kinda perhaps someday possibly agree to agree on something one day off in the future, if the stars are in alignment and not a single rich person or corporation anywhere has to lose one single cent to stave off the climate change crisis.
Why, oh why, do they bother with this charade? They would all be better off rehearsing for a Christmas pantomime together instead. (I'd pay for tickets to see it!)
It does seem there's a moment of realness at each COP, however. This year's moment, as I'm sure you know by now, was an impassioned plea from the Philippines' delegate, Naderev (Yeb) Saño, following the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiya that impacted hundreds of thousands of people in his homeland. He is now on a hunger strike, which people around the world have joined in on, until the end of the COP.
But there they sit (and talk and sit and talk and mainly sit), while the following headlines swirl around them:
Greenhouse gas levels hit new record high [oh, but the Americans shipped some of theirs overseas, so it must all be a hoax or something]
Time for climate change fix running out, IEA warns [yeah, that's the International Energy Agency — you know, the fossil fuellers — telling us that]
World temperatures go off the chart by 2047, study says [yup, that's in our children's lifetime]
Climate change draft report predicts war, heat waves, starvation [duh! how long have we been warning about this?]Leading climate change understanders have been trying to warn the world for years. This year, a leading voice is Mary Robinson, former Irish president and head of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice. Speaking directly to my country, she said, "Moving to a low-carbon economy would be very good for Canadians' futures, and for everyone's future. And as well as that, we don't have a choice. We're running out of time."
Ms Robinson is also reported to have said that "If you're serious about preventing the worst of climate change, you have to leave that bitumen, oil and gas in the ground." Hey, is there an echo in here?
But they'll all just sit and talk and sit and talk. But it's not like they're sitting on their thumbs (which I suppose is an expression that means "doing nothing"). No, they're all sitting on their crossed fingers, hoping like hell that what just happened to the Philippines won't happen to their country.
At least, not before the next COP.
(Please know that although I can sound flippant at times, I see this international procrastinating as the greatest ever crime against humanity ... and it breaks my heart.)