Year 2, Month 12, Day 26: The Times They Are a’Changing

The Jerusalem Post heralds the coming of the New World Order:

The outcome of the latest round of climate change negotiations in Durban was as good as any dared hope for. A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, together with agreement from all countries to begin negotiations on a new legally binding instrument, or an agreement with “legal force,” is a major step forward. However, Durban will be remembered for much more than that; as the place where the tectonic plates of international relations fundamentally shifted.

The group of countries that drove the outcome in South Africa was a new coalition involving the EU and the BASIC countries – Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The emergence of this alliance of countries is significant for two reasons. First, these countries share a vision about the future and are committed to a path of low carbon, sustainable development. They recognize that this is the only pro-growth, pro-development strategy.

Second, this grouping signals a dissolving of the traditional divide between rich and poor countries. For too long international negotiations have been hampered by an overriding solidarity between developing countries and a culture of blame. Durban saw a new maturity with the major developing countries partnering with progressive, developed countries and beginning to take responsibility for the future direction of the global economy.

This shift of the tectonic plates is based on enlightened self-interest. On the one hand, there is no long-term scenario under which a fossil fuels-based economy is either sustainable or desirable for the human race as a whole. Reliance on fossil fuels, with supply risks in terms of political stability in oil producing regions, dwindling supplies and volatile prices together with an unstable climate caused by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, present serious risks to a growing economy.

This gave me the opportunity for another more-in-sorrow-than-anger version of my “Corporations-are-teh-suck-and-America-is-doomed” screed. Sent December 22:

When an enormous amount of work must be done in an extraordinarily short span of time, it’s essential that everyone involved recognize the necessity of the task. Alas for the American exceptionalists, the USA’s energy and environmental policy is now essentially crafted for the benefit of the multinational corporations whose influence is felt throughout the country’s government — and these economic leviathans have no conception whatsoever of the greater good.

The “American Century” is well and truly over, a fact exemplified by the USA’s paralysis in the face of climate change. Fully half of my country’s lawmakers choose to deny scientific reality when it fails to match their ideological preconceptions. The emergence of the EU/BASIC coalition from the Durban talks is most welcome. If the United States cannot lead in the fight against climate catastrophe, then at the very least it should refrain from hindering the nations which can.

Warren Senders

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