What a World (Copenhagen)

In Copenhagen, the world’s richest leaders continued their fiery fossil fuel party last Friday night, December 18, ignoring requests of global village neighbours to please chill out. Instead of halting the hedonism, US President Barack Obama and the Euro elites cracked open the mansion door to add a few nouveau riche guests: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, China’s Jiabao Wen (reportedly the most obnoxious of the lot), Brazil’s Lula Inacio da Silva and India’s Manmohan Singh. By Saturday morning, still drunk with their power over the planet, these wild and crazy party animals had stumbled back onto their jets and headed home.

The rest of us now have a killer hangover, because on behalf mainly of white capitalists (who are having the most fun of all), the world’s rulers stuck the poor and future generations with the vast clean-up charges – and worse: certain death for millions.

The 770 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere envisaged in the “Copenhagen Accord” signatories’ promised 15% emissions cuts from 1990 levels to 2020 – which in reality could be a 10% increase once carbon trading and offset loopholes are factored in – will cook the planet, say scientists, with nine out of 10 African peasants losing their livelihood.

The most reckless man at the party, of course, was the normally urbane, Ivy League-educated lawyer who, a year ago, we hoped might behave with the dignity and compassion behooving the son of a leading Kenyan intellectual. But in Obama’s refusal to lead the global North to make the required 45% emissions cuts and offer payment of the US$400 billion annual climate debt owed to Third World victims by 2020, Obama trashed not only Africa but also the host institution, according to 350.org leader Bill McKibben: “he blew up the United Nations.”

Patrick Bond, “How to cure the post-Copenhagen hangover” (read the rest of the article here)

At the 3 degrees rise predicted by the UN on the basis of current negotiating positions, you can declare the game over. That is potentially the tipping point beyond which it is impossible to regain any control over global temperatures, the point at which positive feedback mechanisms cause temperatures to increase exponentially. I cannot adequately describe the full horror of such a scenario – the food shortages, the droughts, the floods, the fleeing of millions of people from newly uninhabitable territory, the intensified geopolitical competition over basic resources, the extinction of half or more of the species on the planet… it’s just unthinkable. But, as Copenhagen shows, unthinkable horror is exactly what the rulers of the world have in store for us.

− Lenin’s Tomb, “Hope? Nope” (read the rest of the weblog here)

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