Ban Ki-moon asks for the earth
Here are so many climate conferences planned that it would be difficult to see one single meeting as providing an answer to global warming. We have to prevent polluters from emitting carbon dioxide and predict as well as possible how to protect people from effects such as sea-level rise and agricultural calamity. The combination of wise men and ever-increasing numbers of meetings does not seem to be the way forward. It has so far failed.
What must change is the passing over of detail to later conferences. It is necessary to make big decisions, either now, or, I'm sorry, next year in Paris. But to enable Paris decisions, the big moves must begin now. The allocation of finance, the taxing of multinationals, the building of political actions all have to be accomplished. We've detailed much of the details of the problems facing the conference here in - Earth Times on climate change.
Ban Ki-moon has catalysed this meeting with a unique mix of world leaders and civic administrators on 23rd September. Most of all, he seems to be aiming for global agreement for 2015. While this problem is long term, its solution must be almost immediate. We have got to stop the emissions from growing, as they have already in Bhutan, Costa Ria, PNG, Sweden and Switzerland. Not all of those nations are rich. Despite lack of resources, the cost of pollution is now unbearably greater than the cost of stopping it.
Cities are next on Ban Ki-moons list. They must reduce emissions, instead of creating spiralling health problems and global warming. Many countries have only just started preventing smogs and particle emissions, with only some Scandinavian and a few US cities advocating complete or almost complete loss of emissions.. These urban polluters are the first to be approached. While rural pollution causes similar problems, by eliminating city pollution, the effect can be an advertisement for others to follow quickly. And quickly is the cue for development of new technologies and even saleable goods, just as in the renewables sector. Both Germany and China have seen the value of these new technologies for export.
As the influential Christiana Figueres (who is the executive secretary of the UN's Climate Change Framework Convention) states here in The Guardian, under the title of - NY climate summit. the ambitious key to this September conference is to complete the route for agreements, ready for meetings in Lima in December and then Paris in 12 months' time. We mustn't let this apparent delay in progress stop the leaders from coming out of their closet and embracing change- a lot of it.
However words are not enough, even from Ban Ki-moon. He is lucky to have no nation to decry the expense of reducing pollution. As a figurehead, he needs to persuade those who will lose political power to accept their fate while facing the future. The overall effect has to be reduced profits in exchange for the cause of improved health, better flood defences and less drought-stricken towns and villages.
Whether we meet the aim of climate neutrality in our lifetime is not the main question. These distant events will be influenced and estimated by new generations of scientists and politicians. New problems ae highly likely, and hopefully there will be some success. No success will appear until every nation joins, with the UN or without, to cut out this disease of the earth that we passed on so profitably. We have to pay for the cure, either in financing, or with our lives and land.