And so the Copenhagen sub-plots begin to unravel.
At the start of the Conference, rumours were swirling around Copenhagen of a dangerous sub text which miraculously was leaked to the Guardian sometime yesterday, provoking outrage from developing countries, development and environmental groups.
Dubbed the “Danish text”, the sub agreement had been worked on by a small group of countries, with the Danes taking the lead, but also the UK and US. The document would hand more power to rich countries, whilst sidelining the UN and abandoning the Kyoto protocol.
The document sets unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries, meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.
Understandably the reaction to it was one of outrage, with dfiplomats describing it as a “very dangerous document for developing countries. ECO, the magazine of the Climate Action Network, said: “the process for developing it was fatally flawed, and as often happens with a flawed process, this one exploded in the hands of its maker.”
Generating less attention was another draft text drafted by China and endorsed by a variety of developing countries but that was also attacked.
As the sceptics continue to get far too much coverage from the mainstream media for their counter-conference, the World Meteorological Organization pricked their resurgent balloon by reporting that this decade is set to be the warmest one in the modern record.
The period from 2000 through 2009 has been “warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s, and so on,” Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the international weather agency, said at a news conference here.
Yet still the sceptics try and deny that the earth is warming.
But at the end of the day, it will be money not science that decides this conference. Yesterday the French proposed a Climate Justice Fund of US$600 billion to help developing countries adapt to climate change to be spent at a rate of US$60 billion per year for ten years, or US$30 billion per year for 20 years. This would be in addition to the €100 billion per year by 2020 that European Union (EU) leaders recommended last October.
But even those figures are not going to be enough. Trillions of dollars over the next few decades will needed to be spent. As the New York Times points out today: “In energy infrastructure alone, the transformational ambitions that delegates to the United Nations climate change conference are expected to set in the coming days will cost more than $10 trillion in additional investment from 2010 to 2030, according to a new estimate from the International Energy Agency.”
These figures are still small compared to the money spent bailing out the banks.
“People often ask about the costs,” Kevin Parker, the global head of Deutsche Bank Asset Management tells the NYT. “But the figures people tend to cite don’t take into account conservation and efficiency measures that are easily available. And they don’t look at the cost of inaction, which is the extinction of the human race. Period.”
Couldn’t put it blunter myself.
At a time when the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe, I think we can best reduce global warming by increasing awareness of the inconvenient truth that even Al Gore has been generally ignoring: the major impact that animal-based agriculture has on global warming , A UN FAO 2006 report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined. And a recent cover article by two environmentalists in World Watch magazine argues that the livestock’ sector is responsible for over half of the human-caused greenhouse gases. Hence to avoid the impending climate disaster and shift our imperiled world to a sustainable path, a major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential.
Such a shift would reduce the many other negative effects of animal-based diets: disease, increased hunger, water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, rapid species extinction, desertification and many others.
As to global climate change naysayers, we should ask them to please explain why the glaciers and polar ice caps are melting faster than climate scientists’ worst-case scenarios, why so many areas are experiencing such severe droughts, why there are more and larger wild fires, why this century is the warmest on record and much more.
In summary, by promoting plant-based diets we can do the most to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.
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