Coverage of climate negotiations in Copenhagen has varied from dismal to dismaying. In the weeks before 15, 000 government reps and associated lobbyists hit the Danish capital, world media was already canvassing developing nations for their reaction to annual assistance of $US10 billion.
By and large they were angered and offended, pointing to the trillions of dollars so readily thrown at the banks and investment houses that caused the global financial crisis; to the genuine need for several hundred billion if anything is to be done to even mitigate the impacts they face; and to the 17-year-old commitment developed nations and particularly the US made at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit when the Framework Convention on Climate Change was created.
Developed nations, especially America, have already committed to help developing nations prevent, manage and adapt to climate change. They just haven’t done anything about it yet.
But all this protest seemed to disappear under fanfare headlines celebrating the fantastic financial commitment and auto-erotic back-patting of developed nations – approaching $US30billion over the next three years at last count. Put in perspective, that’s about 1 per cent of Australia’s GDP per year.
Developing nations are asking for 1 per cent of GDP of all developed economies because at a minimum this is the amount they’ll need. And because whether they knew that carbon dioxide was going to destroy the planet, wealthy nations have become wealthy by pumping out atmospheric Thalidomide for the last 200 or so years. And “polluter pays” is a long-established principle of international law.
At least, it used to be.
Despite the nice speeches, promises of future action and declarations of benevolent urgency, it seems genuine commitment, vision and solidarity are almost totally absent from the leaders on the world stage. But at least it’s been a good chance to get informed as all cultures of the world try to work together, right?
On December 7, NewMatilda.com drew attention to an allegation made in The Guardian (UK). More than 50 newspapers worldwide, in 20 languages across 45 countries including France, China, Dubai, America, India, and Israel, had signed up to take “the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency”.
Indeed, the editorial was a thought out call for unity in action, with the potential by its unique nature and massive global readership to have some impact on politicians in Copenhagen.
But Fairfax chose inaction. According to The Guardian:
Two Australian papers, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, pulled out at a late stage after the election of climate change sceptic Tony Abbott as leader of the opposition Liberal party recast the country’s debate on green issues.
Instead Fairfax chose to run articles claiming that the Australian delegation was nearly 100-strong and would have a massive carbon footprint. By Fairfax’s new reality, this shouldn’t cause any anxiety because climate change is again nothing but a left-wing conspiracy… or free market opportunism… but it certainly isn’t real.
The fact that the Australian delegation was actually 60-strong for the very good reason that 24-hour discussions over several weeks in different languages – including sleep deprived Legalese – need an experienced and multiskilled support team didn’t seem worth a mention, let alone a retraction. Neither did the fact that Britain is already committed to emission reductions of at least 34 per cent by 2020; similarly, the EU, with its 27-member nations to at least 30 per cent.
Heaven forbid we should ‘act’ first.
Heaven forbid we should act at all.
God, who doesn’t need journalism to be objective, would surely not allow something as awful as man-made climate change loose in a world where we can safely rejoice in the wonders of nuclear power, war, cancer, deforestation, genocide, black Nazis, Tim Blair and NSW Labor.
Thanks Fairfax. What the hell was I thinking?