Saturday, December 12, 2009

7 Days of fasting for world leaders at the Copenhagen Summit

I am very concerned about what will happen in Copenhagen over the coming week. Negotiators have been hard at work for the past seven days, but now the environment ministers have come to the conference. Each of them carrying their political agendas. Towards the end of the week, heads of state from 110 countries -including the 15 biggest CO2 emitting nations -will appear in Copenhagen to add their diverse and often competing viewpoints to the mix. On one hand, this is very encouraging because a little over a month ago, only 65 leaders had committed to attend - and this did not include Stephen Harper or Barack Obama. The fact that Harper is even going is a testament to the power of public pressure.

The past week has not been easy. Several times the talks have run into major snags. One of the draft agreements was leaked, leading an African delegate to weep when it was his turn to speak. The USA and Canada are pushing India and China to make serious emission reductions, and at the same time, they are not willing to commit to the targets proposed for developed nations. The hypocrisy of this position is not lost on China and India - since North America is responsible for a major portion of the current CO2 emissions and a large percentage of the total atmospheric CO2 is the legacy of our creating modern industrialized societies. Now as we have become service and information based economies, we want China to produce all our manufactured goods without emitting CO2 in the process. It often looks like real progress is impossible.

On the bright side, over 100 world leaders will soon be in Copenhagen - including Stephen Harper. Climate gate, massive fraud in the carbon trading market and leaked draft agreements have not scuttled the talks (yet). People are arguing about what action to take - not whether to take action. All of these things - especially Stephen Harper going to Copenhagen - are miracles in themselves.

Seven days of fasting has not been easy, but I suspect it is nothing compared to what lies ahead for world leaders who have the courage to stay at the negotiating table. My thoughts and prayers are with them all as I am hoping for an even bigger miracle to emerge from Copenhagen - the city that has already done so much in creating a sustainable future for the people of Denmark.

On the other hand, if the Copenhagen Summit isn't able to slow global warming, I am completely confident that peak oil will - and it certainly won't be pretty. It's Nature's way.

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