THE Copenhagen climate change summit attended by 45,000 people, 119 heads of state and the leaders of 26 countries including US President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono concluded with a “Copenhagen Accord” declared as an “attachment” to a conference decision.
We have just had spate of suicides off the upper floors of our posh new shipping malls in Jakarta and are racking our brains as to why people do it and if we need to put up jump nets or to better identify “jumpers”.
What if the human race commits suicide because it can´t face up to climate change realities and what must be done? This is more like those Norwegian lemmings that throw themselves in huge numbers off cliff-tops.
What if, despite our political cynicism, we don’t want to let the planet go down? What if we want to save it?
The small islanders in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific are waiting for that glug glug glug feeling as the sea rises over the breakfast table. The people in the flat river deltas of Bangladesh may find one day when the floods come up, that they don’t go down again.
QUOTE:If we don’t want to jump off the fifth floor on climate change through collective indecision then we should try and save the world ourselves, in little ways, and every day, and not expect political elites and bureaucrats to save it for us. They will put the cream on the diplomatic cake, eventually, and maybe in Mexico. But it is us who must bake the cake, and eat it. And get more than crumbs from the rich man`s table.
Danny Kaye the Danish entertainer made famous the song “Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen”. Maybe the bright young new Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa was right that Copenhagen was not so bad after all. A stepping stone to a legally binding treaty to be made next year.
“[The accord] is not bad. It is far better than nothing”. As he pointed out, Heads of State intervened in this themselves and the Indonesians put in their paragraphs in along with the world´s powerful.
I sat in on lots of international trade and development negotiations when I was a young European Commission official.
I was always convinced this was a system of permanent institutionalized failure, of never doing enough, and that second hand Rose was always selling second hand clothes, and rebranding old money as new money. And we officials lived so well while we were doing what seemed to be nothing at all.
One time I was told in an UNCTAD Board Meeting in Geneva to quietly talk with the Americans and the Japanese to see what they would say, while the EU prepared its position to present to the poor nations – the Group of 77.
I pulled over the glass table in the Palais des Nations looking out over the lake so I could write a note, and the glass top came crashing off the base, to which it was not attached. “That’s the fifth one this week” said the waitress. I had a smashing time in Geneva.
UNCTAD stood for United Nations Conference Trade and Development, but I thought it stood for Under No Circumstances Take Any Decisions.
But I learned it´s not so wise to build up huge expectations of what states and diplomacy can do and more interesting sometimes to see how society changes.
Social change is made of lots of little decisions, not a few big ones.
Voluntary emissions certificates are gradually becoming more important than the officially certified ones, because the voluntary ones represent a lot of us making voluntary individual market decisions, while the official ones represent a few of us tying ourselves in well-meaning bureaucratic knots.
If we don’t want to jump off the fifth floor on climate change through collective indecision then we should try and save the world ourselves, in little ways, and every day, and not expect political elites and bureaucrats to save it for us.
They will put the cream on the diplomatic cake, eventually, and maybe in Mexico. But it is us who must bake the cake, and eat it. And get more than crumbs from the rich man`s table. So what`s new? Lets get on with it ourselves, while we still can!
(Terry Lacey is a development economist who writes from Jakarta on modernization in the Muslim world, investment and trade relations with the EU and Islamic banking.)