It was obvious from the start that the Copenhagen climate conference was doomed.
World leaders were trying to square an impossible circle. They had to reduce carbon emissions whilst paying off the crippling debts incurred by Western financial institutions during the asset bubble of the past few years.
The only solution that would have led to an agreement in Copenhagen would also have caused riots in Washington, Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo. The problem comes from an inability to level with the public as to exactly what has to be done to get a grip on pollution.
For carbon emissions to fall, energy use has to fall and for that to happen, either the population has to fall or GDP per capita has to fall (see our earlier article on this subject – http://www.www.off-grid.net/2009/11/12/scrap-carbon-targets-–-they’re-pointless/).
There is no chance of the population falling, unless H1N1 comes to the politician’s rescue. And that means GDP has to fall, which entails a shrinking economy. This in itself is no bad thing after decades of growth.
That’s where the credit crunch comes into the story. Because of the huge debts incurred last year, the developed countries need 5-7 years of sharp growth to get their economics back on an even keel. An agreement at Copenhagen would have prevented that from happening.
So if you want to see a zero-growth economy and a chance to clean up pollution- come back in five years.
Meanwhile the financial community got what it wanted from Copenhagen, in the form of an extension to the carbon-trading scheme set up at Kyoto. Amongst many celebrating the extension of the carbon-trading market was the head of carbon markets for Merrill Lynch, Abyd Karmali – who is also president of the Carbon Markets and Investors Association. For him it was crucial that the multi-billion trade in carbon is extended.
And its worth adding that other seriously guilty parties like the energy industry, the transport industry, the chemical industry and retailers have not been asked to put their hands in their pockets. No, its all down to the taxpayers on this one.Its all our fault, apparently. Nothing to do with the 40,000 green professionals who decided their attendance at Cop15 was vital for the planet.
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