Lots of ‘Ifs’ and ‘buts’ – yet no statesmanship in sight
|Monday, 16. November 2009 0 comment(s)||
Researcher - The EU's Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research programme
But a real blow was delivered on Sunday, when the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum (APEC) i.e. the US, Japan, China, Russia, Australia and Canada, among others, back-tracked on their earlier target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and ‘viewed the Copenhagen summit as a “staging post”, not an end point’.
The reason for worry is not the -50% by 2050 goal itself; it was never considered very substantial, but rather an inspirational target, which the decision-makers would not need to worry about delivering due to its longer time perspective. Prospects for any meaningful – and so crucial – shorter-term goals are the real concern. As even a longer-term goal, considered as easier, is rejected, how likely are the policy-makers to adopt shorter-term commitments which they would actually have to participate in delivering?
The current economic crisis, which some analysts claim is already easing up, is used as an excuse for non-action. To see beyond this trouble that will pass requires a clear vision and some tough decisions which will not please everyone. The Copenhagen process needs leadership which focuses on the global public good, and thus, extends beyond the current short-term economic and political interests and pressures. Obama was expected to provide such leadership, but he obviously is not up for it.
It has been a long time since such vision has been demonstrated in the climate negotiation process. A politician thinks about the next elections, a statesman thinks about the next generations. To solve climate change, the worst crisis ever threatened the mankind, we need a statesman.
Texts reflect the opinions of the individual authors