World leaders representing nearly two-thirds of world economic output massively watered-down their public commitment to lowering greenhouse gasses last night, in what may be a grim portent for next month’s climate change talks in Copenhagen.
Bush, far right in the photograph, seems so exhausted by his trip to OPEC or Austria or wherever the hell it was that he can’t even lift up his paw in time with the rest. You can almost hear the photographer: your other right, Mr. President.
Let’s make sure we’ve got our priorities straight right off the bat:
The pursuit of climate change and energy security policies must avoid introducing barriers to trade and investment.
Economic growth, a recurring subject in the text, is mentioned before climate change in the very first sentence. Sounds like a good plan: endless economic expansion, with no piper to pay.
It is a moral challenge, because those least responsible for causing the problem – the poorest people in the poorest countries of the world – will overwhelmingly pay the highest price as climate change begins to bite. If Australia is serious about being a global leader as chair of APEC, we must do three things. First, join the rest of the international community in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Second, commit to deep cuts in greenhouse pollution. And third, support the efforts of our neighbours and developing country partners in APEC to adapt to climate change and reduce poverty in an environmentally sustainable way.
It is clear that climate change is affecting the lives of the poorest people in our world. The monsoon season in our region and in South Asia has become shorter and more intense over the last decade, and so we can expect to see more people displaced by the kind of flooding we see right now in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Crops are failing in the face of increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. Millions of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa
face water shortages. And sea level rise could potentially displace millions of people from small island nations in the Pacific, and low-lying coastal countries, over the next few decades.
If we don’t get serious about tackling climate change, we won’t be talking about making poverty history, we’ll be making it permanent.
In other news from Sydney, surprise! W doesn’t even know where he is. In front of business leaders on Friday:
Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit . . . .
His recovery was lamer still, if that is possible.
As I type this, Radio Australia is playing Pink’s Dear Mr. President, something I have never heard them play before.
Nothing else reaches the frat boy. Maybe he will understand this.
Organizers in Sydney hope to set a new world record on Friday, mooning the president of the United States with 2000 sideways smiles simultaneously from Hyde Park, an area of Sydney not off limits for normal use during the APEC meeting.