Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The True Threat to Climate Change

It is agreed by all that the UN Climate Conference held in Copenhagen in 2009 was under attack from all sides, starting weeks before the conference began with leaks regarding corrupted and falsified data regarding climate change. Fingers were pointed, lines drawn, delegates recalled and at the end, a failure to move forward on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Now, through diplomatic cables released through Wikileaks, we find that the two top global polluters, the US and China, joined forces to derail COP15.

According the leaked cables, in May of 2009, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, met with Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing. Sympathetic to China's resistance to accepting mandatory targets at the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference, Kerry outlined "a new basis for 'major cooperation' between the United States and China on climate change." The two countries secretly formed an alliance of collusion in the months just prior to Copenhagen to de-bone the Kyoto Protocol to a toothless document.

In 2007, under President George W. Bush, US climate negotiators organized a 10-year framework agreement with China on energy and the environment. The two countries also agreed to hold "Strategic and Economic Dialogue". Under the new administration lead by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued the dialogue and according to leaked dispatches, the two countries would form a "new partnership” on energy and climate change that would be favorable to the world’s largest polluters.

The Kyoto Protocol, signed at the climate summit in 1997, distinguished between industrialized nations, which were to reduce their emissions, and developing countries -- including economic powerhouse China, which could basically continue releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without restrictions. "Joint, but differentiated responsibility," was the principle upon which the Kyoto Protocol was based.

The US signed the protocol, but never ratified it, leaving the United States and China to continue polluting at will, while European nations who signed the Protocol would have to cut their energy consumption. The goal of the European countries for Copenhagen was to fight for a new agreement that would require the United States, China and newly-industrialized nations, like India and Brazil to specific emission-reduction targets.

In December 2009, world leaders, delegates, scientists and the press, descended upon Copenhagen with great optimism and hope for a binding agreement. Unbeknownst to the delegates, China, India, South Africa and Brazil met secretly in a hotel room where, with a copy of the Copenhagen Agreement, proceeded to gut it of all binding obligations. Once completed, President Obama joined the clandestine gathering to review what would later be known as the "Copenhagen Accord."

According to a Wikileaks released memo, “the Obama Administration offered millions of dollars in the form of “Development Aid” to poor countries, like the island nation of the Maldives, to support the rewritten “Copenhagen Accord”, knowing that other small and developing countries would come to realize that there are advantages to be gained by compliance”.

As an American as well as a dedicated environmentalist, I was shocked and sicken when I first read the leaked documents regarding the Copenhagen Conference and the lengths our government went to destroy the Kyoto Protocol, but more was the fact that the very people that we trusted and elected to office to act as our global voice, would betray our trust and like a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” work against the very causes they professed to support… I say “stand strong, stay ever vigilant, and God bless Wikileaks”.

1 comment:

  1. As you pointed out in your last sentence, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Just because the current administration promised 'audacity' doesn't mean they'll deliver it without having their noses held to the fire.
    Great start Kevin.