28 November 2010

Less Than Zero Expectations for Cancun

Can anyone believe that a year has passed already since the Copenhagen climate talks became the biggest global disappointment of all time? (Worse, even, I suspect, than Bush illegally invading Iraq following peace vigils and protests all over the world — which were wonderful but one-offs. Climate activists in this household spend up to 16 hours every day on this issue, so Copenhagen was shockingly depressing.)

The Cancun climate talks begin tomorrow. I don't care. I know nothing good will come of them. The new UNFCCC executive secretary, Christiana Figueres, has told us to expect nothing. The outgoing Yvo de Boer had nothing promising to say before he left his post. Journalists are already using pessimistic terms to describe the negotiations, slated to run from November 29 to December 10, 2010 in Mexico.
  • Battle lines drawn for Cancun climate conference
  • Delegates brace for setbacks
  • UN talks in Mexico to seek modest climate steps
  • EU sets sights low for climate talks
  • United Nations climate talks in limbo
  • No hope for climate talks, says Britain's chief scientist
  • Two hundred nations, one mission: to repair the mess left by Copenhagen
  • Hopes low as Australia heads to climate talks
  • Prospect of climate deal slim: Analysts
  • Doubts surround climate deal
  • Cancun conference: Climate change back-burnered
  • Cancun & the climate 'standstill'
  • Stalled on treaty, climate talks turn to money
  • No big surprises likely at Cancun meet
  • Optimism, though cautious, remains ahead of Cancun climate conference [Me: optimism, though cautious, equals pessimism]
  • Horror summer fails to shift Russia climate scepticism [Me: many Russians are still convinced climate change is an American conspiracy — no, wait, the Americans think it's a ....]
  • Climate change will make a billion homeless [Me: oops, sorry, thought I'd throw a little reality in there]
Already negotiators are talking about things like "notching up progress" on a few issues "to help revive faith" in the UNFCCC process. According to Artur Runge-Metzger, the European Union's chief negotiator, all parties "want to show the world that this process can deliver, it can move the international climate agenda forward." Harvard professor, Robert Stavins, has said, "The most sensible goal for Cancun is progress on a sound foundation for meaningful long-term action, not some notion of immediate triumph."

Got that? No talk of saving the world or safeguarding the future. No mention of Africa and small island states. No mention of the children of all species. No mention of actually %$#!ing well doing something!!!!! Why wouldn't we want immediate triumph, for heaven's sake?

Gee, shucks, people have lost faith in the process. BLOODY RIGHT WE HAVE! And for good reason. Because "governments" care more about the process and who's "winning" and who's "losing" than they care about the Earth and the future and their own children.

So go ahead, Cancun. Achieve something. Do something good. I dare you. But I ain't holding my breath — I'm not setting myself up for the deep depression I suffered last year post-Copenhagen. Nope. Not me. I know you're going to keep diddling while the Earth burns. You're all ignorant, you're mean-spirited, you're avaricious, and you're cowardly — and you certainly don't have a creative neuron in your 200 brains put together.

I'm just going to keep doing what I do ... teaching people about the urgency of the climate change emergency — and encouraging them to feel some compassion for the world's most climate-change-vulnerable and become heroes for their own children.

p.s. Hey, just thought of something! What if all the negotiators who love their children just walked out? Just said, "Screw it!" to their bosses back home? Just went to the beach? Ah, I guess I am still a little bit optimistic.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?