LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook











Managing the Disruptive Aftermath of Somalia’s Worst Terror Attack

by International Crisis Group The devastating twin truck bombings in Somalia’s...

Message doha

Published on December 4th, 2012 | by Guest

0

Is Climate Victory to Change a Word or the World?

By Stephen Leahy 

You would never know I am an urgent, existential issue threatening human civilisation at the U.N. climate summit here in the final week in Doha. It is more like a trade negotiation, where hard-fought agreement to change the word “shall” to “may” in a document is considered progress.

Victory here is to change a word, not the world.

Three years ago, more than 100,000 people marched through the streets of Copenhagen during COP15 shouting “System Change, Not Climate Change!” There is not even a whisper of that call here at COP18.

Outside the security barriers, the Qatari capital of Doha, one of the world’s most energy-profligate cities, ignores what’s going on inside COP18. There was a march on Saturday, the first ever in the city, apparently. Three hundred mainly young people marched asking Arab nations to lead in taking action to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Marchers were careful not to say “system change” in a country where a poet was jailed for life only two days before. He had written a poem deemed insulting to Qatar’s Emir, the ruler of this country built on gas and oil.

And yet “system change” is clearly what you need. Your global economy is based on fossil fuels that put more than 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere every year. It is this carbon pollution that makes me ever more powerful. And don’t forget your carbon footprint will be cooking the planet long after you are gone. What will your grandchildren and great-grandchildren think of the way you spent your life?

No one wants to leave this awful legacy. So why is there so little change? Coal, gas and oil companies represent the richest and most powerful industry ever. If they don’t want change, nothing will change. After 18 years of U.N. climate negotiations, humanity is still increasing CO2 emissions. In fact, emissions will reach yet another record high in 2012.

Nothing here at COP 18 will prevent 2013 from setting another record for CO2 emissions.

The U.N. climate negotiations may be the most complex and difficult ever attempted, but all that is being decided is who will do what, by when and who will pay. Everyone here knows the real problem is a “lack of political will”. Political will is not at COP 18, it resides in national capitals. And that’s where fossil fuel interests are most at home.

I am not a science problem, or a technical issue or even an economic challenge. My growing power is a failure of democracy. The interests of a few are trumping the welfare of the many – and the welfare of seven generations to come.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Comments are closed.


About the Author

avatar

Articles by guest writers.



Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!