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“Climategate” Who profits by the crime?

Posted by Geneviève Ferone on 22 December 2009

Indifference is a dangerous posture when confronted with the growing importance of those who dub themselves “climate sceptics”. The latter really and truly exist; they appear powerful, organised, and indulge in subversive techniques with means that certain, rather pugnacious, environmental NGOs would use readily. A number of people have expressed legitimate concerns about their influence on international opinion, which has just recently been sensitized and mobilized concerning global warming.

De facto, it is always wise to remain humble especially in scientific domains and to ensure that all voices are heard in a rigourous and exacting peer review such as the IPCC members perform amongst themselves. The real question is elsewhere. The violence of the accusation against climatologists, accusations of conspiracy and falsification, make you wonder if certain individuals  wouldn’t suffer steep losses if the international community went forward with global agreements at Copenhagen.

A closer examination shows these attacks are particularly predictable. Those who are living very comfortably off of fossil fuels do not defend a non-carbon based economy. They can easily see that we are on the cusp of a new world, which will surely gnaw away at their privileges. Paradoxically, by stooping to such intimidation techniques, stirring up trouble, and discrediting the most covered summit of the decade, these detractors very clearly show that yes, global warming is a real threat to them and their business.

These methods therefore are not new and have been largely deployed, sometimes successfully by other industries who have felt threatened. Above all else, they are  proof of the immaturity of a segment of economic and political actors who categorically refuse to consider clearly and bravely the immense stake that awaits humanity at the dawn of this century. The rarest of resources is not oil, nor the collective intelligence that we can all deploy together. The rarest of all resources is simply time. We cannot buy time. Let us not waste our strength. Let us not confuse our battles. Yes there are obviously margins of uncertainty. Yes, nobody can exactly predict the earth’s temperature in 2032. We have however, an important mass of information that supports the theory that humans have contributed to global warming. A cyclone is approaching and several extremely violent storms are converging at high speeds on us. Each of these fronts in and of itself would be a major disruptive event, destabilizing our social, economic, and ecologic models. Together, they form a revolutionary challenge, bringing together a number of actors with differing agendas, who must find a single, common solution within a very narrow timeframe.

How much longer will we wait before realising it is already too late?

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Copenhagen: Requiem for a summit?

Posted by Geneviève Ferone on 22 December 2009

With the Copenhagen summit only a few weeks away, it seems everyone is either predicting a stalemate in international negotiations or listing all the reasons it is useless to hope for an agreement in principle on a global roadmap towards an economy based on new energy paradigms.

Indeed, it is already a given that promises to reduce greenhouse gases established by the Kyoto protocol will not be respected by the end of the first commitment period in 2012. Prospects are even more bleak as the latest assessments by the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – demonstrate that these initial goals will be insufficient to restrain climate change within a “reasonable” limit.
Bringing players with such divergent interests to an agreement and ensuring they honour them seems illusory at best. The path of international diplomacy has indeed been paved with failures and compromises in all fields: developmental aid, agriculture, trade, human rights, fight against corruption. Why would global warming be any different? Why shouldn’t we simply allow technology to accomplish miracles and the invisible hand of the trade market to slowly go green?

This kind of thinking is intolerable and irresponsible. It is particularly dangerous to give up on our only arena and tool of international negotiation by holding up as pretexts our eternal rivalries and our incapacity to fairly share the planet’s resources. We have reached a point of no return. The very foundations of our societies are shaken. The fragile balance of our social, economic, and political organisations are threatened. We can no longer get by with lukewarm sentiments, with opportunistic haggling. We need to grow, we must learn to live and talk together differently.

We must invent a new economic model that is fairer, which fully integrates the environmental constraints for 7 billion human beings within the next 10 years. We are helpless and incapable of finding the determinants of this green growth for which we so ardently hope, as though it were a magical wish. Before we can enjoy the fruits of this new golden age, we must first start on a long and delicate transition period. If we look closer, this passage closely resembles the eye of a needle. We can either go through it or fail. This passage demands each and everyone of us to become thoroughly aware of climate and energy stakes. To get through the eye of the needle together means collectively choosing the right path. There is very little room for error and
We must cut away the extraneous and increase our adaptability.

Both these questions are at the very heart of the Copenhagen negotiations and all together we must find an answer as soon as possible. We cannot precipitously dismiss the rudiments of the only green alphabet at our disposal. Our future common language depends on it.

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