Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yess. We surely can't afford to fail in Copenhagen

Powerful speech by Gordon Brown in the wake of the Copenhagen Summit slated for December this year.

"We cannot compromise with the Earth; we cannot compromise with the catastrophe of unchecked climate change, so we must compromise with one another. I urge my fellow leaders to work together to reach agreement among us, recognizing both our common and our differentiated responsibilities, and also recognising the dire consequences of failure."

and also

" There is no Plan B for the Planet"

This statistic was also startling

"98% of those dying and otherwise seriously affected live in the poorest countries, and yet their countries account for only 8% of global emissions. This is the great injustice of climate change: those being hit first and hardest by climate change are those who have done least to cause it."

This meet is going to be a tough field for Leadership at National as well as International levels. On one hand we have a democracy where probably 90% of the population may not get an inkling of what India's stand is and its rationale, while on the other hand the discussion would be driven more by the fate of planet in decades to come. How to manage the short term interests with long term benefit of the nation and planet rhymes well with the regular challenge of meeting quarterly results with long term growth of corporate groups.

I guess it all boils down to vision of the leader at the end of the day.

4 comments:

Ankur Chandra Srivastava said...

As I have earlier stated, I think we are being fooled by these leaders. To give examples of Gordon Brown's commitment, all underground trains in London are being air conditioned as part of project to revamp them.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8317749.stm

To give more common examples, while they keep telling us to use less paper, less plastic etc. they never speak about air travels, rocket launches or big industries which produce far more pollution. They all want growth in this area which is very much proportional to pollution they will cause. Also, I don't have any trust on these scientists as if they have been so trust worthy, then we would have predicted this possibility long before, not after if we have done all the damage. It is not question of capability but of will power. We actually want to live very comfortably which needs us to make everything which makes us do more with less effort even if it is damaging the environment. Even if we don't do anything, mere fact that we exist and consume oxygen, water and land is also bad for earth and reduces its life by many years, as that is the minimum we need for existence. So, question is: are we ready to go back to neolithic age? or are we too accustomed to a comfortable life? Whatever be the answer, why are we trying to bring development, roads, hospitals, industries and schools to poor countries as they all will cause more global warming? Why don't we try to go to the basics?
Aim of all these questions is not to get the answers. It is to make a point that global warming is extremely complex topic for discussion and methods like trying to use less plastic, paper etc. are nothing but drop in the ocean. Real problem lies in our psychology which is to consume as much as we can and compete with each other for resources, power and fame.

Ujjwal said...

ery valid points Ankur. The point is that all these constructs of development are man made. These are not defined by nature. Thus if we are working in a sweltering geographical region, having an AC will surely make us feel better and improve our productivity. Thus though productivity is a positive construct, what gets weakened in the process is nature.
The question is are we willing to accept that there is a limitation to nature and it is really not as robust as we consider it to be. If yes, then there needs to be a check on the definitions of comfort and we will have to realize that we just can't go on and on.

Drinking water or breathing air doesn't increase the global temperature and hence thats not an issue of debate.
The difficulty is in the fact that the people have already got used to comfortable life style as you see in the west. Even with excellent outside temperature, huge power would be used in the buildings to keep the temperature further controlled.

The problem is that we can't sense the gravity of the problem by living in comfortable conditions. When everything is taken away from us and we are only dependent upon nature for our livelihood, each iota of change in natural condition would make us feel that something is going wrong.

Rahul Gupta (RPG) said...

I agree with you AC for most part and Ujjwal very well said...I just want to add that our reactions or actions are totally dependent on how we perceive this particular threat...and I have noticed that different nations have different versions...and since its a global problem, countries are finding it hard to come up with a solution, and I think that is why Brown is making such a strong statement so that people take notice of it...Personally I am not sure about the exact nature of dangers to come, I am also not sure if less use of paper or plastic will be very effective when houses are made of wood in western countries, what I do feel is that although I do not have good assessment of the problem, there is no harm in changing our habits to some extent which at the same time does not affect our lifestyle and our comfort level drastically, for eg I think I would not mind driving an electric car...at the country level the measures do not have to be drastic, it just needs better regulation, because safety is always better than cure.

Ujjwal said...

Hey thanks for your comments friends. One of the challenges of global warming is that its a collective mess and hence the solution also has to be derived by the collective. So how does one see the effort put in at a micro level and believe that it would change the situation makes it even more difficult for people to get convinced.

In terms of impact of global warming, few moonths back i saw a documentary whereby at a coastal area near Orissa, there was a rise in sea level leading to water inundating the near by agricultural lands. The entire soil got seeped in salt water and became barren forever. The people had to shift to a different place for their livelihood. This is just one of several thousands of instances.

Similarly after my limited stay in urban areas in the West, I realized that the climate is so pleasant that it is really difficult for a person to imagine that people at some part of the world would be getting affected because someone is cutting more trees to build a lovely cottage.

Also, the recent upheavels in Phillipines and also India which the nation was talking about drought in general in certain parts is not a usual phenomenon.

The worst thing about global warming is that it is coming at complete loggerheads with the concept of economic growth and also at a stage when 2/3 of the world population has not even attained a respectable standard of living.

Its not going to be easy at all if things remain unchanged.