The world’s leaders speak about climate change

I am sitting in my hotel room very early on a dark Californian morning, after a cramped flight and a sleepless night. The Orange County skyline is littered lights that no one needs. On the freeway from the airport the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (two or more people per car) were empty but the other lanes were full. Mr Obama is about to address the United Nations in New York on climate change so I have my television tuned to listen to what he has to say. Perhaps many others are waiting to see whether the man who symbolised climate change hope (in comparison with Mr Bush) has anything positive to say to the world about how the world, and in particular his nation responsible for more than 20% of emissions with less than 5% of the population, can lead the people of the planet into safety.

For an observer from outer space the present lack of action about climate change must cast serious doubt on whether humanity has any self preservation instinct left. Nations of the world are trying to agree a way of limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, in theory. In practice rich powerful nations are trying to draw a line in the land and hang on to their ability to emit greenhouse gases with almost impunity. The lead in limiting climate change emissions looks like coming from the Orient and in particular from China and South Korea who have high proportions of their stimulus packages devoted to clean renewable energy and who have not had dirty habits for centuries which have polluted the planet.

Of course, China is the other great polluter but it has considerably more than a fraction of the world’s population and has plans which are based around measures – renewable and efficiencies – to tackle climate change. Small South Korea is the outstanding climate change angel and if every nation committed their resources to renewable in the same way the observer from outer space would have no doubts about the future of this planet.

If conferences words consultations meetings documents and meetings could have reduced emissions we would now be in need of carbon emissions to make the carbon cycle work and reverse global cooling. Unfortunately these things, much beloved of politicians because it gives them platforms, do nothing to reduce emissions. They might make us more aware of the need to reduce emissions but that awareness is coupled with the fact that in the United States and the European Union nothing worth writing about or talking about is being done.

Mr Obama told the United Nations that  “we did not come here to celebrate progress” although he managed to take credit for having done more about climate change in the past eight months since he entered office than the United States had done in the past eight years.

There was nothing else noteworthy in his speech, but then again what else could he say?

Similarly also at the United Nations President Hu Jintao of China has promised that China will increase efforts to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon dioxide emissions, linking emissions to a measure of gross domestic product, thereby allowing the possibility of emissions savings which could be completely outweighed by vigorous economic growth. What else could President Hu Jintao say?

Even Gordon Brown got in on the act earlier claiming that climte change measures are the way toi lead the economy out of recessions but actually committing virtually none of his stimulus package to such measures.

A speech by leaders of this stature at the United Nations is always to be short on detail but long on platitude.  How pleasantly surprising it would have been if both leaders had talked about specific measures as their country’s contribution. They could have said for example “We will legislate for all homes and businesses to be required to have two clean renewable microgeneration measures by 2020. We will outlaw the use of unnecessary electricity particularly for electric light advertising. We will plant some many thousands of hectares of new trees each year. We will ban unnecessary packaging.”

They did not descend into particulars. Politicians are wary of doing so. When they do not talk about concepts (not specifics) with plenty of vagueness and ambiguity their words have a habit of coming back to bite them.

Everyone agreed that the science indicates grave danger and that the science can no longer be ignored. Everyone agreed that the threat to the planet is real immediate and awesome. It is just that no one has proposed any real actions to deal with the threat that they so lucidly explained. That is akin to a leader of a nation threatened with grave danger talking about the seriousness of the situation but doing nothing to prevent it. That is morally indefensible. The observer from outer space would question whether humans are really the “sapiens” of the hominidae.

One Response

  1. Please don’t look on my postings as all doom and gloom, there are not intended to come across as such but most people try to look on the happier, its not going to happen to me side of things as I myself do, but,

    The key words which are mentioned and not in yet another well written and heart felf posting are words like, population, growth and, Globalisation, all of which will sooner or later have to be addressed, for the very few who will take human kind forward after any possible dissaster, those people and their children could one day be vetted for their survival.

    If there is another race watching us from above like the so called Annanaki, they won’t have to wait long for things to take place and we will do all of their work for them,

    Our children might just be asking us one day what went wrong in the past and all we will be able to say is, it all went up in smoke guys,something that they do not yet understand because they are happy in front of the TV playing their video games, which is about what the TV is good for,

    If one hankers back not so long ago in American history, you wil see that 10 million peopledied due to famine, we are not talking under developed African type troubles here, but a modern civilised country
    who simply couldn’t cope with the weather and droughts that came to pass,

    If ever a situation like this ever confronted them again, which the experts say is just around the corner, the consiquences will be far worse than in the 1930’s, its food where all of our problems are going to occur from, not global warming, the world population wil be effected long before we ever warm up.

    Goverments the world over know exactly what is needed to help our plight but do nothing for many diferent reasons, they have contingency plans and places of refuge for themselves, just like the R O C had during the cold war periods, so they don’t really have to worry if all goes paer shaped.

    There is a new word being spoken of late and that’s the, New World Order,

    If the past has anything to go by this could have a devastatinfg effect to human life if it ever comes to fruition, why, because remember what happened to the 70 million native inhabitants when the new world
    was discovered, could it be just like the last time, if so how many more will have to sufer to bring this new world situation to bare.

    These are the things not being talked about,and lets look forward instead of backwards here, but as we are all fully aware of past human history, it does have a nasty habit of repaeting itself.

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