Greenhouse gas increasingly lost behind political hot air

Jeez, here we go again.

Bow down and give thanks, everyone, our political leaders are once again gearing up to go through the motions of actually doing something for the planet.

“Ingredients of a new deal on protecting global biodiversity are likely to be decided this week at a London meeting.

About 55 nations are sending delegates to the meeting, which will be chaired by UK and Brazilian ministers.

A key aim is to agree what sort of targets should be set at October’s UN biodiversity summit for curbing the loss of species and ecosystems” – from the BBC

Yup; meetings about meetings. If you’ve spent any length of time in the modern office environment, there are probably few things more likely to set your teeth on edge. But take heart, there is apparently a point to this…

“Governments are keen to avoid the kind of fundamental divisions that dogged last month’s climate summit”

Ah yes, the Copenhagen summit. Latest in a long line of politicians’ talking shops on the Environment to be billed as ‘crunch time’ only to wind up as ‘fudge time‘, to the surprise of precisely no-one.

Actually, I would quibble that last extract from the BBC’s report. I don’t think governments are keen to avoid fundamental divisions at all and why should they be, when such divisions are the very thing that makes these ongoing ‘summits’ necessary?

Madagascar and the Solomon Islands not falling into line? Great, that’ll be another raft of limos, five-star hotels in some exotic capital and photo-ops with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, then. Bring it on.

That would be the first thing to change if I ruled the world. Future climate summit venues would be directly linked to the productivity of the previous get-together.

If our leaders want Paris or New York next time around, they’d have to come up with hard and fast commitments that achieve something within our lifetime, not that of our grandchildren.

Give us nothing more than the usual hot air dressed up as resolve, on the other hand, and we’ll see you in Scunthorpe next February.

But then why do we need these posture-fest summits at all?

At the risk of being all avant-garde and ‘outside the box’, what’s to stop individual nations – especially those keen to show how well they can function without having their hand held by former colonial masters – just get off their backsides and do something, instead of trotting up self-importantly for yet more meetings about meetings?

If I see my kids wasting food or leaving lights on unnecessarily, I don’t need a pow-wow with the rest of the street to know what’s needed.

If you sense a certain teetering frustration here, you’d be right. My patience was pushed to the brink where conservation is concerned by this Daily Telegraph story from 2008 and I reckon I’m just one more damp-squib ‘summit’ away from being the first fishing writer to break ranks and scream “Sod it: let the planet burn…”

The moment I feel the desire of ordinary people to take care of what we have is hopelessly outgunned by the lies, prevarication and incompetence of government, national or local, Greenpeace will be one member light and I’ll simply focus on keeping my own small corner of the globe well-maintained for as long as I draw breath. My children’s future? I’ll treat both boys to vasectomies as an 18th birthday present. Sorted.

“I tried but politicians got in the way,” is an epitaph which I believe posterity will view with some compassion.

[pic courtesy of woodleywonderworks]
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