Cancun Conference on climate change

The representatives of the world’s ‘great and good’ have just met, again, to discuss carbon emissions at the Cancun climate control summit where they pontificated, made solemn sounding statements, debated and tried to outwit each other, not to mention the rest of us, with various versions of an ecological ‘three card trick’, where each imperialist power appears to promise to cut their carbon emissions without doing so while trying to get everyone else, especially the poorer and developing countries, to do it for real. 

For good measure they even allow the representatives of the poorer nations in to ‘their’ meeting to show how concerned they are for the people of the whole world.  This publicity stunt of pretending that they regard these ‘poorer’ nations as equals means that they also have to listen to the representatives of the poor castigate them publicly for all the horrors that imperialism brings to all corners of the world in its unending search for maximum profits whatever harm that does to people, exploited nations or the environment.  But with the tame media owned by imperialism such things are reported, if at all, in such a way that the leaders of the poor who stand up to imperialism and denounce its activities that are threatening the very planet we exist upon, are portrayed as ungrateful wretches, ignorant bullies and/or power-hungry lunatics. 

The 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held at Cancun had, before it even started, been written off in much of the press as unlikely to come up with any positive agreement.  This ‘pessimism’, we were told by the press, was because of the appalling failure to agree much at all at the previous year’s summit in Copenhagen where the only thing that emerged was a non-binding ‘accord’.  That meeting also saw Gordon Brown, along with all the other imperialist representatives and most of their lackey press, accusing Presidents Chavez of Venezuela, Correa of Ecuador and Morales of Bolivia, of “holding the world to ransom” because they wanted the imperialists to lower their own emissions instead of ‘buying’ poorer nation’s low carbon output.  They also called for realistic funding to be made available for poor and developing countries to develop alternatives so that they could build their infrastructure without increasing carbon outputs. Lastly they pointed out that only socialism could save the world and that capitalism was the road to extinction. 

As Chavez said at that summit “The political conservatism and selfishness of the largest consumers, of the richest countries shows high insensitivity and lack of solidarity with the poor, the hungry, and the most vulnerable to disease, to natural disasters. Mr. President, a new and single agreement is essential, applicable to absolutely unequal parties, according to the magnitude of their contributions and economic, financial and technological capabilities and based on unconditional respect for the principles contained in the Convention.

“Developed countries should set binding, clear and concrete commitments for the substantial reduction of their emissions and assume obligations of financial and technological assistance to poor countries to cope with the destructive dangers of climate change. In this respect, the uniqueness of island states and least developed countries should be fully recognized.”

These sentiments had been supported by a large section of the summit and so the intransigence of the imperialist countries protecting their profits above all meant that no agreement was reached and, of course, the western media laid the blame for that at the door of the above nations along with Zimbabwe, Brazil, China and others.

This year saw a different venue but the underlying problem still exists, the rich countries still only want to consider saving the planet if it doesn’t interfere with their profits; and more, if it also guarantees that third world countries cannot rise to become competitors for markets or even just independent of imperialist interference in their affairs.  At this summit the only movement that was made to reach the much-lauded agreement was made by the poorer countries and this ‘agreement’ that was cheered in the summit and feted by the imperialist press as a great and unexpected step forward on the road to ‘saving the planet’ is an agreement that is no more binding or progressive than the ‘accord’ reached at Copenhagen.

The main problems identified are:

a) The poor and developing countries did not get a new commitment period for the existing climate change agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, which imperialism wants to tear up and throw away.

b) The so-called ‘gigaton gap’ (the gap between existing pledges and the carbon reductions needed according to leading climate scientists) is big and this ‘agreement’ doesn’t go anywhere near reducing it.

c) The ‘fund’ to help poorer countries that has been talked about has no basis in fact ie. Who will provide it?  Where will it go?  On what basis will it, if it is ever raised, be given out?  Without these things any talk of ‘a fund’ is meaningless.

The real issues are left yet again to next year in South Africa when they are just as likely to be ignored or brushed over again.

In short, imperialism cannot alleviate the problems of the third world, or the first world come to that, if the planet is to be saved it will be saved by socialism and only revolution will take us there.  As the CPGB-ML leaflet given out on the recent climate control demonstration in London says “You’ve got to be Red to be Green!”

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