True Believers and Naysayers – Durban, S. Africa

Written by Admin. Posted in All Fragilecologies, Climate Affairs

Published on December 02, 2011 with No Comments

Views on climate change negotiations converge at COP17

– Durban, South Africa

The views of those setting up the COP 17 event in South Africa, many negotiators and skeptics’ seem to have converged. Generally speaking, no one believes that anything of value will take place at the conference as a step toward an agreement to restrict let along roll back carbon dioxide emissions in the near term. Their views converge for different reasons.

Strange Bedfellows?

The naysayers (a category that includes legitimate skeptics as well as deniers) revel in the release of the second set of emails by unknown hackers in advance of the COP 17 round of Kyoto Protocol-related negotiations. They lobby that unnamed evil forces have rigged climate change science in order to make money by shifting societal dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (they called the climate change issue a hoax).

For their part negotiators have been disheartened ever since the crash of hopes and expectations in Copenhagen at COP 15 in December 2010. Since the summer of 2011 (maybe even earlier), following the COP 16 non-plus meeting in Cancun, Mexico, expectations were lowered to such a level that anything at all appearing as some sort of political consensus might be viewed as success of sorts. Those in charge of overseeing the negotiation process lowered expectations of success. In other words negotiators as well as onlookers were told to expect less from the COP process and, sadly, it is easier for governments to meet lowered expectations than to match elevated ones. So, yea-sayers and naysayers now agree that the UNFCCC Conference of Parties process is one of window-dressing with nothing of substance in the window. This gives proof to the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Glantz modification of Davies J-curve <>

Apparently this is the first of recent COPs in which no American congressperson has attended: too busy they say; too far says others; not a major conference says still others. The naysayers’ side point to the hacked emails of “climategate” (it should have been called ‘email-gate’) to claim victory. And the governments leading the push for control on greenhouse gas emissions now point to the financial crisis that plagues them: sorry, no funds can be spared now (to spare the Planet’s inhabitants of foreseeable dire global warming consequences).

The truth of the matter is that the major polluting governments are really reluctant to deal with the heart of the matter, economies fueled by and dependent on fossil fuel availability and use. There was no will to attack climate change before the financial crisis when money was available and it is likely that after the financial crisis has been resolved some years down the road they will still find other reasons to continue “business as usual” with regard to fossil fuel consumption.

Killing the hope for and the prospects of success at least in the near to mid term from the climate change negotiating process has been achieved. Governments are still not taking seriously the need to avert foreseeable adversities that are associated with global warming. While the current set of political leaders might not be alive to see the adversities, their younger yet-to-be-chosen successors will. By then we will likely be in a climate-related disaster bubble from which there would be little chance of escape.

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