2007 - 2021

Copenhagen – Climate Justice

What’s emerging out of Copenhagen (the conference we cant be represented at)  is a much clearer set of relations. The developed world is protecting its assets. Naomi Klein has written that: “We are seeing a redefinition of environmentalism” in which “there’s an inverse relationship between who created the problem and who can afford to save themselves from the problem, and it isn’t only in the Global South.” She continues, “Think about New Orleans. It’s also the South in the North. The people who had resources could drive out of the disaster zone; the people who depended on the state were left on their roofs, a kind of a climate apartheid, in the United States.”  This analysis could inform Scotlands position in terms of relations with the wider world, our own fuel poverty, our renewables targets and meeting our world-leading CO2 reduction legislation.

Amongst Browns bluff and Obamas blunder here are some of the stark facts as they scrabble for some cash to pay off the developing world:

* £48 billion – spent on the Brit Bank Bailout (that’s our money – yours and mine)
* Projected Total Cost Iraq War: at least $3 trillion
* Total Obama Admin (FY2010) Defense Budget request: $687 billion
* Additional amount estimated for Obama’s Afghan surge: $40 billion

The sums being discussed in Copenhagen are far more modest than the trillions spent recently on the illegal Iraq war. The United Nations recently estimated that $500 billion would be needed (from all the developed world – not just the US) to help build a global clean energy economy and to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Oxfam puts it at $200 billion.

Sadly, even these sums aren’t on the table. There is an ongoing discussion of just $10 billion in so-called “fast track funding”, and of that, the US has pledged “its fair share. Jonathan Pershing, Obama’s Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, seems to be arguing that this is only $1.5 billion.

See a clip of Naomi Kleins analysis here.


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  1. Mr No says:

    Do you trust most thirs world regimes to spend the money wisely and not cream it off to the governing plutocracy. I don’t.

    Will the third world, especially India, Africa and the Middle East curb their population growth. Surely one of the most effective ways of avoiding climate change and of emancipating women?

    The population of Ethiopia has trebled since the famous famine of 1985. Trebled. So, when their standard of living improves (as one hopes it does) the world will have more mouths to feed and a higher carbon footprint. The developing world’s population would be falling were it not for immigration to those areas.

    The third world need to sort out the corruption and population growth until then I just think a lot of decision will be immaterial. I’m not willing to see my taxes to to prop up dodgy regimes as happened with money which has been given over decades to Africa and other places.

  2. bellacaledonia says:

    Mr No I’m sure you have plenty of experience of ‘propping up dodgy regimes’ and we don’t have to look very far to see widespread political corruption.

    The population growth is a side issue (look at the per capita emissions output for India v North America for eg) from the historical legacy and contemporary impact of our industrialised economies. What Copenhagen has revealed is the liberal elites complete inability to mediate between the interests of big business and the wider society.

  3. Mr No says:

    population growth is not a ‘side issue’ at all. The emissions are low now, the average Indian uses about 10% energy as the average Briton. But some time, the standard of living increases then it will get closer to the average American. With 1.3 billion people that’s a lot of people and a massive change.

    It’s not a matter of either or, but both approaches. A world of say 7 billion people will cause less pollution than one of 9 billion.

    Until some on the ‘left’ also recognise the role population growth will play then frankly I can’t take your arguments seriously.

    Dodgy regimes, come on, cheap jibe. I’m a nationalist and want to see the end of the UK but you can’t compare Westminister to Gabon or Yemen or Nigeria.

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