3E Intelligence

Bali: roadmap to Armageddon?

OK, the Bali climate top decided on a roadmap for future negotiations, but without any direction (no 25-40% targets) and, what is more, without any real breakthrough in the mindset of most governments.

First of all, there is still no awareness that in the face of the global climate calamity, all the fighting over the role and responsibility of developed and developing countries is a waste of time, and time is the one thing we do not have. As long as national interests and the “God of unsustainable economic growth” continue to dominate governments, these international negotiations will never deliver. Yes, climate policies might slow down economic growth (and probably even more than the political and optimistic Stern report predicts) but we have no choice. We live on one planet Earth with more than 6 billion people and we better start acting (i.e. living, producing and consuming) accordingly. The problem is that we have no effective global governance structures

Secondly, in the next two years, another “long emergency” catastrophe is likely to take political centre-stage: the new energy scarcity caused by the voracious appetite of “today’s global economy, which has created a situation in which the world is not just getting hot, it’s getting raped” (Thomas Friedman: “It’s too late for later“, NY Times 16 Dec.). If the International Energy Agency keeps its promise in 2008, it will provide more transparency on the issue of oil, gas and coal reserves next year and that could be the next “Inconvenient Truth”. And, even if our global economy would go into a recession, the continued growth of the emerging economies will continue to put pressure on the energy demand-supply equation. This “second front” will make the war on climate change even more unwinnable.

So Bali will still not be the Pearl Harbor we needed to convince our governments that we are facing a new war, but this time a war with nature we can never win, not even with the best new technologies. George W. Bush once said about climate change: “The American way of life is not negotiable”. As long as we keep believing this, our war with nature will continue and we will be continuing our road to Armageddon. We will need to find peace with nature or perish; it is that simple.

As famous British historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote: “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder”

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