Brussels & Durban – the focus of the world…

It’s strange that two of the seemingly most important issues facing humans right now are being fought over/discussed/determined at the very same time. The on-going discussions during the Brussels Euro talks have been taking place during the Climate talks in Durban, the processes and results of which will shape our civilisation for years to come.

The economic stability of Europe and far beyond, as well as the environmental stability of the whole planet are being shaped right now (wow, that’s a bit dramatic!)

One of the best articles i’ve read so far relating to the various developments regarding the Euro’s slow collapse. I personally feel not signing up sends out terrible signals and if I was in charge of a major blue chip company, with virtual freedom to roam borders and choose it’s bases, I would be very concerned. The top politicians seem to be acting like we’re bullet proof and don’t need Europe. 50% of our trade is with Europe and what happens there directly affects us. Our credit rating is closely linked to Europe and there is now a significant chance that our rating will be downgraded, along with France, meaning it will cost more to sustain our reliance on debts.

We have to stop acting like an island state and get connected. The Tory influence from their back benches is pathetic and zenophobic. Margaret Thatcher would be shocked. She had more than a few questionnable policies, but power in Europe means prosperity here. All the eurosceptics need to have a look at what is happening in countries like China and India, as well as a number of South American ones. We have no chance of competing with this strength of development and investment if we cannot support each other and form a unifed and strong Europe.

In terms of global warming, the latest “Bridging the Emissions Gap” report, coordinated by UNEP with climate modeling centers around the world, emphasized in November that the best available science shows that global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak before 2020.

Xie Zhenhua, head of the Chinese delegation, said, “The implementation of the Cancun Agreements and the Durban Outcome will not be achieved in a short run. A heavy load of work ahead on the post-2020 arrangement needs to be done in order to enhance the implementation of the Convention.”

“The lack of political will is a main element that hinders cooperation on addressing climate change in the international community,” he said. “We expect political sincerity from developed countries next year in Qatar.” (

So, now instead of an agreement with actual substance to it (or anything to it at all), we only have an agreement to agree, on a legally-binding agreement to come into force ‘no later than 2020’. This agreement process will officially begin right now and finalised by 2015. In terms of international consensus, this may sound unimpressive but this result isn’t actually that bad, considering the numbers of countries involved and the huge resistance to anything which will limit economic growth.

The main issue though is that the 2020 date is when global emissions need to be peaking, not starting to be seriously tackled. Realistically, this is about as good as it will get and I personally feel 2020 is just about as close as could be agreed.

The other major issue for the developing nations, principally India, China and Brazil, is that they haven’t been responsible for the vast majority of the existing emissions. Should they be bound by the same agreement as the historically huge polluters? To me this just isn’t fair. The countries such as the US, Russia and the block of Europe should be in line for the heaviest pressure from any legally binding agreement. This certainly doesn’t leave out the emerging countries but some kind of compromise will have to be put forward which puts a huge responsibility on the US for its massive and continuing environmental damage.

This responsibility should include a role as leader in negotiations, given their technological, political and economic power, gained by the huge environmental impacts which are being discussed. At a time when Canada is pulling out of Kyoto and Russia is showing signs of the same approach, with the US not even signed up, it looks like China and the EU being the most likely leaders for our planets future.


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