The Clowns Are Already On

If ever there were evidence needed of the irresponsibility of our politicians, the latest round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, must surely provide it.

Apparently, unable to work together, leaders of nations have split into three separate camps: rich nations like the United States; industrializing nations like China and India, and those most impacted by the early effects of climate change, such as the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis).

As the world’s climate deteriorates rapidly, these political clowns bicker and argue. Their only agreement is to meet again in six months for ‘further discussions’. Nothing is ever achieved.

This week the the International Energy Agency has announced that global emissions are now higher than at any time in history. In the fifteen years since Kyoto was adopted, much has been discussed, yet nothing has been achieved. We are continuing to poison our environment at an ever more alarming rate.

Opening the Bonn session, UN climate convention (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres told negotiators that progress depended on ambition – “ambition to support developing countries, ambition to mobilise finance and… ambition to decisively and tangibly reduce emissions according to what science demands”.

By the end, several observers including Tove Maria Ryding of Greenpeace International concluded that ambition had been largely absent.

“It’s absurd to watch governments sit and point fingers and fight like little kids while the scientists explain about the terrifying impacts of climate change,” she said.[1]

It is now obvious that we, the people, cannot rely on our political leaders to solve the major threat to our existence on this planet. They will still be arguing with each other as the sea washes away New York and tornadoes, ten times bigger than the worst ever experienced, ravage the countryside.

The question then remains: what do we, the people, do about it?

The answer is obvious. We’ll do nothing. We’ll still drive our gas-guzzlers, demand more and more fossil fuel energy to power our desires, and complain of the legacy being left for our grandchildren as we purchase yet another big-screen TV (“Well, we don’t have one in the bathroom yet, do we, dear?”)

For that’s our nature. We are the only creature on the planet with the ability to foresee the future, but our innately selfish character prevents us from doing anything to change it.

We are just as much the clowns as the politicians who represent us.

[1] “Climate talks stall with nations ‘wasting time'” BBC, May 25th 2012

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2 Replies to “The Clowns Are Already On”

  1. I’m with you in your frustration, RJ. I believe it’s already too late. Even if we gave up our cars tomorrow (impractical for most in rural areas and small towns), cut down hard on use of electricity and gas (especially heating/air conditioning) we’d harm our health in a second way and die that much faster.

    If governments, especially the US government, had taken the threat seriously soon enough there’d have been an outside chance that climate change could have been controlled for a time, perhaps long enough for new inventions and discoveries to help solve the problems we’ll soon face. But the oil and gas industries were too strong, they dictated how things had to proceed. They are still doing it.

    What can we do? Vote? For whom? Greater or (slightly) lesser evil – both in thrall to oil? March? Some will march, and have done, and still nobody cared.

    There’ll have to be a dire catastrophe before anyone tries to address the problem. It’ll be way, way too late then, because it’s already too late.

  2. From various news reports I’ve heard on the radio here, the consensus seems to be “Well, no-one else is doing anything, so why should we take the economic hit?” And as long as everyone takes that attitude (at a micro-personal level, as well as at a country level), then we are going to stay on this downward spiral to self destruction.

    Sometimes I think it would be better for us just to let it happen – the world will heal itself far quicker when humanity is wiped out. But then it will be the innocent folks who suffer harder and for longer (like the Pacific Islanders whose homes are already disappearing beneath the waves).

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