End poverty before CO2 emissions....
I'm happy Copenhagen fell apart....
THE climate change debacle at Copenhagen last month underlined the reality that any new global agreement will be on the terms set by developing countries. Leading commentators have written that China's leading role in this was a demonstration of its new influence as an economic power.
In one important sense they are wrong. This was not just China, but India, Brazil and the Arab oil states as well. Furthermore, the position of these countries and the rest of the developing world has not changed in the 20 years since climate change has been on the global agenda.
For developing countries, climate change and other environmental strategies which retard economic development are unacceptable. They scored this into UN orthodoxy at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. They executed the principle when they emasculated the Kyoto Protocol by insisting only rich countries cut emissions.
The failure at Copenhagen was not the result of the greater influence of developing countries, it was a failure, yet again, of Green activists and environmental officials in rich countries to understand the position of developing countries and the political implications of that.
Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
China used its enhanced authority to deliver the developing country message in the form of a humiliating public snub to Western leaders at Copenhagen.
China sent an official, not a political leader, to negotiate with Barack Obama.
The European Community, the champion of the Kyoto Protocol, was shut out of the negotiations between the US and the leading developing economies. When the Danish Prime Minister nominated an Indian minister to pair with Penny Wong to sort out differences on one issue, the Indian minister simply did not show up.
The zealotry which has imbued the campaign to halt global warming has blinded environmental officials and many politicians to the reality of what can be achieved. Any experienced UN negotiator would have warned it was a mistake to send a large number of heads of government to Copenhagen in the belief that that would overcome the deep and fundamental divide between rich and poor.
The justification for engaging in such a diplomatic suicide mission is that stopping global warming is the overriding moral issue of the time. Not to everyone.
In India and China alone there are 600 million people living below the poverty line. Eradicating poverty is the moral imperative in the developing world.