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Copenhagen: politics-as-usual « Previous | |Next »
December 21, 2009

One inference we can draw from the UN COP15 conference at Copenhagen is that politics-as-usual was in charge. A second inference is that politics-as-usual will not prevent climate change, as there are formidable forces pushing to maintain the status quo.

At Bonn in May and Mexico in December 2010 (COP16) that means a refusal to make a deal to limit our emissions of warming gases. Consequently, much will have to be sacrificed to ensure the defence of national self-interest and sovereignty as defined by the fossil fuel industries. We must go for growth.

RowsonMCopenhagen.jpg Martin Rowson

Inaction on climate change means that the long shadow of the future is already forming behind us as Australia’s coal and electricity industries get back to business as usual. Short-term profit making.

The warming trajectory is now one of 3-4 degrees. So we will have the tipping points of the warming gases stored in the Siberian permafrost melting at 2C and being released into the atmosphere; the world's humid rainforests, which store huge amounts of warming gases in their trees, will they lose their humidity beyond 2C and begin to burn down. So the world gets warmer and warmer beyond 2C.

So why not business as usual with protesters chaining themselves to coal fired stations and coal trains? Direct action is needed not in the trivial fig leaf sense of the Coalition owned by the fossil fuel industry; but non-violent direct action to putt pressure to stop new coal-fired power stations from being built; non-violent direct action to put pressure to close down the old coal fired power stations; and non-violent direct action to put pressure to block the coal trains.

If politics-as -usual in Australia is dedicated to entrenching Labor in power, and only secondarily to achieving real reform, then direct action is needed to ensure a technological transformation from lots of money poured into the new energy industries.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:00 PM | | Comments (6)


Copenhagen (COP15) can be seen as the beginning of something new. A new start.

hmmm, Ross Garnaut asks a lot of questions in the SMH about the Accord

What are the prospects for turning domestic commitments into binding international commitments in the major developing countries? What are the prospects for the US Government being able to deliver into law its general commitments - let alone more ambitious but for the time being unattainable goals? Are there alternative ways of giving countries enough assurance that others will be pulling their weight, to bring forward offers from the most ambitious ends of the spectrums that countries are prepared to contemplate? Are there means of achieving gains from international trade in entitlements without binding commitments to targets?

He gives no answers. Instead he talks about making the best use of the opportunities in the new context.

Here's a thought. The Americans knew that Copenhagen would not deliver much so they pushed China into a corner, demanding concessions from China whilst offereing nothing. China looked the spoiler and so it could be blamed for the Copenhagen failure, not the Americans.

Direct action is already underway - but hasn't hit the media yet - Collie.

Another thought on Obama -
was he trying to get something that would enable him to get legislation through the US Senate?

discussion in the Independent along this vein

The carbon crisis is, in fact, a political crisis. What is being delivered by our politicians would b not persuade an energy utility that the era of dirty coal is over. They're off to build more coal-fired power stations so as to keep the lights turned on.

Ah, that's a brilliant cartoon, you have to have seen the original to get it, but if you have, it is so devastating.