I had just filled 11 years when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED started in Rio de Janeiro in June 3rd 1992. By that time I believed in politicians being able to actually make a change and commit to real agreements. I believed that change in the world could be done at a political level. I believed in our democratic system as it stands and that through reform real, palpable change could be achieved.

I remember that at the end at that conference I was all enthusiastic. I really was!

Some years later I had moved to Norway and back to Ecuador, learned a lot about the world and had a broader understanding of our political system in a global sense. By then, in 1998, I found myself studying Gro Harlem Brundtland (GHB)’s proposal at school. The paper that was basically agreed upon under the Rio summit: GHB’s proposal,Our Common Future(follow the link and read it) also called the Bruntland report, can be summarized in the idea of sustainable development: Economic and social human growth while keeping our global ecosystem healthy.

While I was gaining insight in this matters the Kyoto protocol happened. For people that actually like to analyse things this agreement is the next best thing to nothing. Simply because it opens for mechanisms that can be misused, it has no penalties defined as part of the agreement for lack of compliance and because is does not address the mitigation levels that were required to have a useful agreement (over 100 years the greenhouse gases reductions will not even reach 4%) – I have already blogged on this so I will not bother you with that now.

11 years later, with more studies into these matters biasing me and a Philosophy degree to make things worse, I have to say: We all knew that Copenhagen was to be a failure. Whatever comes out of this summit tomorrow is worse than nothing coming out.

Why? Because a crappy agreement will not show the reality of this summit: Our political system worldwide is not addressing the biggest challenge in human history. Simple as that. We need a political reform worldwide WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE PROMOTED BY YOUR AVERAGE POLITICIAN! – Sorry, but you have to face this. Politicians do not have accountability or responsibility, they just talk and try to be re-elected. This is too serious to let a bunch of idiots ruin it for the rest of us, and do so in our name!

Back to Copenhagen and the ongoing summit. Let’s put it in perspective:

  1. Connie, who was thought to become the next EU climate queen, has now resigned from the COP15’s presidency. Earlier she said that failure in Copenhagen is not an option and that it would clearly show that “the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century” – It’s nice to be able to use somebody else’s words to describe a problem. But yes, it sucks to be right. Time after time.
  2. Adaptation and mitigation must go hand by hand. Without both we will, for real, get in trouble. Want to read more on Adaptation and why it matters? Read my former teacher Karen (member of the UNFCCC) and friends. they will explain it better than I can in their reports:
    * Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Concepts, Issues, Assessment Methods (PDF)
    * More Than Rain (PDF)
    Once while at Uni I asked her if she actually believed that our politcians could actually sort this one out and pull off an agreement that would actually be fair for all of humanity and that could give us a change to keep our environment in good shape. Karen, I guess,  is a person that understands that the global picture is complex and that politics are a game. Her answer was something like: “Well, I do not want to be pessimistic here, but no.” – It might have been the way I asked, who knows. Anyway I was glad to understand that I am not the only one thinking there’s something wrong here. But to be right about such things sucks.
  3. There are nations like Tuvalu that will be remembered. because they are the voice of the speechless. Their voice is an echo and reminder of the fact that our survival is never a subject of discussion, it is the only option! Our survival does not imply growth, but dignity. Survival implies a working ecosystem, not more energetic resources. Survival implies life and peace, not money and force!
  4. As reported by some organizations NGOs/CSOs will not have access to the summit tomorrow. So if your country is not enforcing freedom by default and is letting representatives for Civil Society/Non-Governmental organizations on-site be part of the delegation, There is practically no civil watchers representing YOU, of course, only your average politician is in place playing the “I want more for less” attitude that this negotiation game implies.
  5. In Copenhagen the police took ~700 people to prison the past weekend. I have a friend that was there while this happened. We talked yesterday. And he said: “It really is sad that the media focus on the conflict generated by the political need to show “action” against pacifist demonstrating” – I could not agree more because who is talking about the thousands of Pro Environmentalist that were outside of the Bella Center and in other parts of Copenhagen mourning Mother Earth while our politicians play the “Business as usual” game and accelerate the growth train towards the inevitable end of the line at the cliff?
  6. Now, naivity is not stupidity. But it is time to wake up, for real! I am getting tired of saying this, but still: Politicians alone will not fix this one. And we do not need a political agreement to act. What we need is organically coordinated action… But that’s another post.
  7. Readers of this blog know that I am by no means trying to draw an apocalypse here. I have seen too much love in humanity to believe that we are doomed to our own self-destruction. But I also acknowledge that if we leave this to our politicians we are going to blow it up. Are we?

The next result is not a game and will not happen in an oval room. It’s going to happen in the streets, in your bedroom, in a bar, in your schools. We need action. Among and between ourselves. Between you and your next peer!

And while we acknowledge this and tell it to each other, the show continues in Copenhagen with the superstars tomorrow. But no, this is too important to reduce it to a nice rhetorical speech. Do not get fooled. Copenhagen is the bad joke it was meant to be.

This struggle cannot be lost. To loose this one implies lack of human survival. Are you going to follow or are you going to act?


Let yourself get inspired... Copenhagen

I have the feeling that the real issues are not even going to be discussed about in the summit.

  • 1 . Honestly, what does this meeting hold for you and me? If every single country that did not ratify Kyoto would have done so AND actually would have complied with the protocol, do you know what the result would have been in a 100 year perspective? A 1.9% reduction in our CO2 emissions…

Now if that is not problematic for you, well it really is time for you to wake up! Politicians are playing with the public opinion (that’s us, again.) We need mitigation strategies of CO2 in the degree of 40-80% to reach the “controlled” level of a 2 degrees increase (see point 4.) You think that politicians can actually get there without including you and me? Go figure why they call it democracy when they sit there and never listen to real proposal by the citizens or scientists. I really do not care which party we talk about, they all know they cannot do much in the political framework we have.

And this is only related to mitigation measures.. Do not even get me started how things are when it comes to adaptation.

  • 2. We know that sustainable development is crap. Let’s just put the record straight once and for all! It’s just stupid to have endless growth as a premise in a world bounded by limited resources. And no, bringing stuff from the moon or mars is not an option. Neither is living in the seabed.

So what do we do? Well, we continue with life as if this is not happening. We just put our trust in technology and hope the problem will solve itself. This time is not going to happen, simply because there is no tech-fix for climate/global change. Fuck what you heard! We have a real problem, and we need real solutions and I have the feeling that the suits in Copenhagen, although a beautiful city, are not going to get inspired enough by it to actually make a useful and serious agreement.

  • 3. Good intentions are not enough. We have heard it all before in the lips of GHB, KA and others. Real and effective action translates into unpopular, but logical decisions. And unpopular decisions abroad (or at home for that matter) will not get you votes at home. But knowledge and scientifically proven facts will open the way for cooperation, if we prepare the platform and include all citizens.

When I talk to people about the ineffectiveness of our democratic system, people label me quickly as an authoritarian. I want democracy, no less but more of it! Not this farce in which politicians are lying and playing a game in front of our faces: There will be NO solutions without infrastructural changes in our global societies. And I am not talking just about a reduction of consume, but a change of attitude towards economical growth, resource distribution and most of all, the way we organize society. We need more local production, decision making, an inclusive on-the-ground platform of global change to actually make our efforts effective.

And this means less power in oval offices, parliaments, conference halls and their processed bullshit agreements. They always end up as politcal jokes stealing our precious time.

  • 4. Inform yourself! Don’t take my word for it. Go read and find for yourself.

Read the scientific papers from the UN Climate Change panel. Even the worse case scenario models are way too conservative compared to the empirical data we are finding WORLDWIDE. Even “pessimists” models, such as James Lovelock’s,  are not even close to explaining the findings in our empirical data, the on-the-ground experience, we are measuring worldwide. Scientific models that can explain our measured empirical data are NOT part of the UN report. They were seen as too extreme in 2007.

Come on: Google it. Go read it in you local library or newspaper!

So now you got it, right? Our measurement, i.e. of ice melting in the poles and icebergs, are showing that our models suck. And when I say they suck I mean that reality of our measurements are showing us that our Planet is in worse shape than we thought/calculated! The ice melting this year has reached rates that we have not expected/calculated to see before 15-50 years in the future (the number of years varies on depending what model you choose.) Honestly, this does not come as a surprise: Greenpeace showed already in 2002 that we had a problem with ice melting. Empirical facts cannot be discussed, but in politics true can be false and ice can be water. Politics in our democratic system nowadays is really the art of bullshitting the more, while getting caught with a lie the less.

So please… We are not getting bailed from this one. Neither your congress representatives, ministers, priests, imams nor you teacher are going to solve this problem this time. It will take a global, linked, organized and long cooperative effort to get this off and find real solutions.

I am so happy that cooperation is what humans can do best. Or else I would, honestly, believe we are doomed!

But we are not. 🙂

Let’s continue the work of green enlightenment we have been doing the last 40 years and make all of our peers realize that we are, indeed, linked with and part of nature. Not only sentient beings trying to abstract ourselves from it.

PS: It might be more than 40 years we have been doing this, really. I have the feeling that evolution has been guiding us towards a path of freedom and cooperation within our ecosystem all the way… But it might just be me.