28 November, 2008
Next week’s COP-14 meeting in Poland is likely to go down in history as the top where the European Union’s self-proclaimed global leadership on climate and energy policy got sacrificed on the altar of economic growth fundamentalism.
With Poland and most of the new EU member states in opposition and their unholy alliance with Berlusconi’s “little Italy” and Merkel’s “Germany Inc”, it seems clear that the EU will have difficulties speaking with one voice during the Poznan meeting. Moreover, the latest French “compromise” on the climate-energy package is no more and no less than a wonderful Christmas bag of gifts for the European coal-power utilities and the energy-intensive sectors. In effect, it will definitively bury Europe’s “ambitious” climate plans.
And what are countries like China and India to think when even the rich industrial countries start backtracking on their grand promises for a post-carbon future now that the financial crisis (which was partially caused by our carbon addiction) has hijacked the short-term political agenda? At least the lame-duck Bush administration can be expected to stick to its traditional role in Poznan and Obama’s diplomatic delegation is likely to keep a low-profile as long as the President-elect is not fully in power.
So, will Poznan be a complete failure? Probably not, as the diplomatic circus has become very sophisticated at producing hollow rhetorical declarations where every country can find its little treat.
And exactly THAT is possibly the biggest danger. I would rather see a total failure of Poznan than a non-text which all government delegations will be able to spin as their victory.
Once the whole world will have seen that the EU (“the King”) is naked, it is time for a regime change. Let’s put our hopes for the post-carbon future in the Obama Presidency, although it may also take him a few years to push through his new climate policies. As for the EU, it will have proven that it has become part of the problem, not part of the solution.Author : Willy De Backer