I wrote about Copenhagen on August the 27th predicting that the summit would just be a re-run of environmental commissions, conferences and summits before, such as the WCED in 1987. My doubts that the conference would actually address one of the most important issues of the environmental debate, the North/South divide, have been legitimised, as Copenhagen has been a capitalist showdown. Suggestions from UN chief Ban Ki-moon that long-term financial aid for developing countries may fail to materialise, highlights the precedence of certain countries (developed) interests at the summit.
Brown has travelled over to the Conference to try to provide the discussions some of his ‘save the world’ techniques, however, his rhetorical comment…
“If you don’t get an agreement this week, people will doubt whether you can get an agreement at all.”
… can be levelled at all of the summits, commissions and conferences that have taken place regarding the enviroment. All that ever seems to become clear from the discussions is the need for many of the developed countries to compromise their ego to realise that THEIR production, THEIR waste, is the reason that the developing countries are having adverse environmental effects. Not only do the developing countries part take at the lowest levels in the international division of labour, they are also compounded by the environmental effects of those in the highest levels of the division. How is that fair? It is disappointing that the African countries have softened their demands. They should have stayed resilient together, as we all know that the major players need a result from this conference for their own self-seeking ego boasting polls. This is a moral as well as an environmental issue – it simply isn’t fair to exploit the developing countries and then provide them token financial support.
The hype that was created around the possibility of an ‘environment global deal’ being formulated from the conference always seemed to be overrated. There was obviously going to be massive discrepancies in agreements, with China wanting developed countries to lower their emissions, whilst developed countries (notably USA) want China to lower theirs – for example. With the summit’s end eminent, it is worrying that there are still many important issues yet to be discussed. It seems that there will be a piece meal set of commitments, but commitments like a marriage, can always be broken… The denial of campaigners such as Friends of the Earth at the summit is another issue that will long be debated after the conference ends. How important parts of our democratic system be cut out of the discussions due to some protesters causing violence is beyond me. However, there is no wonder supporters are getting angry at the level of progress that is being made, when they look back at all the talk around finding so many solutions to so many problems. On aside, I do not agree with the police tactics of spraying people with tear gas and beating them to a pulp, that goes for any demonstration.
Credit to Brown, our government is backing the extra funding for aid for African countries – but we need others. Obviously, USA is a key player here, something which Ed Milliband rightly pointed out. The recent advancement by Japan in relation to aid for developing countries is an important development too.
And what has Mr Cameron been doing? Well he is trying to steal the environmental limelight from the Copenhagen conference in announcing his £20bn initiative to basically get people back to work and off the doll, oh but it is environmentally friendly too. Same old Cameron.
Update: On that note, there is now news that ANOTHER summit will be set up to try to solve the problems that were not solved this time around. I bet I will be citing this blog if that summit does go along. There simply is too much talking and too little action. At the moment, Copenhagen represents a political football game, with the seeds of our future being kicked around the pitch in a self interested manner, only time will tell if this will change…