Ariel Goldberg
Ariel Goldberg

Copenhagen debate heats up

The lead up to the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December is not looking particularly promising. The world is split into two camps and in the past few months they have both been drastically lowering what can be expected from them in December.

On the industrialised nation front, the European Union has come out and said they will be “moving away” from the Kyoto Protocol which can basically be interpreted as its death knell since they were the strongest proponents of it in the past. The United States failed to even sign onto the agreement claiming that it was unfair on the industrialised world because the protocol leaves out any responsibility for the developing nations.

And on the developing nation front, countries like South Africa have issued statements saying that “it is unrealistic for us at this stage to set targets” because our economies are still growing and that industrialised nations are responsible for the bulk of climate change and should therefore face the most restrictions.

The reality is that the atmosphere doesn’t see national boundaries, and the destructive and potentially catastrophic weather systems that are a result of global warming don’t care about countries and the sovereignty of national states. This is everybody’s problem and everybody should be doing their part to resolve it. Granted, the developed nations have been responsible for the bulk of carbon emissions and countries like South African should be held less accountable to carbon-emission targets than say the United States or Europe, but we should still be doing our part.

What the world needs out of Copenhagen is for the Kyoto Protocol to be taken up a notch. For it to include the developing nations and for the industrialised nations to take a look at what they have managed to accomplish and set themselves new targets.

Instead, what is happening is that everybody is pointing fingers at everybody else and the final result is going to be a watered-down version of Kyoto, a treaty involving non-binding pledges from countries that at the end of the day mean nothing. At the moment everybody is looking out for their own interests and trying their best to avoid being pinned down. It’s all rather like watching someone try to herd cats.

Hopefully October 24 will be a showing of the world’s will to do something about climate change. Something that will motivate the world’s leaders to move in the right direction. Read about the thousands of events taking place across the globe here and here and remember that your voice makes a difference.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
— Dr Seuss, from The Lorax

You can’t argue with Dr Seuss.