Hopenhagen – Climate Change Deal at Copenhagen 2009?
It seems like everyone in the world wants an equitable, effective climate deal to be agreed in Copenhagen over the next fortnight. Why then, with such unequivocal support, does it seem so unlikely?
The answer is simple. Leaders want to be seen to be ‘doing the right thing’ but in reality do not want to commit vast amounts of funds to the cause before anyone else does. Everyone is fighting their own battle and pointing fingers at their ‘opponents’. When world leaders can see a tangible gain for their nation, they are best friends; when the benefits of action are more subtle, they resort to lip-service and dawdling in the hope that others will pick up the tab before they are made to.
A further reason is that our leaders are worried about the implications their actions may have on their other responsibilities. They worry that the money they dedicate to alleviating the risk of climate change may have adverse financial impacts on the health and emergency services, the educational and civil engineering sector for example. Of course, whatever funds our leaders promise, they will have to be found from our own pockets. However, our Government fails to see its inefficiencies, and ways in which money can be found. For a start, the £60million that gets paid out in pension funds and benefits to the deceased every year, resulting from administrative errors. Cutting governmental costs must be of benefit to Gordon Brown; he is the 324th most highly paid person in the public sector.
Thirdly, and this has emerged today in the so-called ‘Danish Text’, rich countries (traditionally at fault for unmitigated levels of emissions) are unwilling to help poor countries reduce their emissions, who they believe should have a smaller emissions quota per capita anyway. The cost of averting climate change has been put between £100billion and £400billion a year, the majority of which would be expected to be covered by rich countries uneasy at the thought of subsidising their poorer (and less culpable) cousins.
But we mustn’t give up hope. With 12 billion eyes fixed upon Copenhagen this week and six billion mouths pleading for a deal, surely we can’t be ignored for too much longer? Hopenhagen indeed…