Another talk shop to discuss climate change started yesterday with the commencement of the UNFCCC COP15 in Copenhagen; and this time with less hope of an agreement to save the earth or rather to save human existence on earth. The leaders of the world and their representatives have been bargaining now for more than fifteen years on climate agreements, and now have come to Copenhagen to seal a deal! Have they consulted us, the people, before trying to seal the deal? NO, says members of the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM. They demand that no deal is sealed without consulting people.
Gopal Jain of the Centre for Environment Education in India echoed a collective sentiment that the climate negotiations at the UNFCCC are not convincing enough to enable human wellbeing on earth as basic sustainability issues such as poverty eradication is not adequately addressed.
According to Jeffrey Barber from the Integrative Strategies Forum in USA “negotiations within the United Nations system are too often based on linear or not integrative thinking. Approaches to many of the world's problems are compartmentalised and end up competing with each other, rather than working together holistically.”
Therefore, by design the UN system is unable to provide solutions for a complex world of diverse societies and their lifestyles, needs and behaviours. These negotiations at the UN are historically disintegrated because they believe in focusing on each issue separately. Therefore, climate change is another great challenge to be discussed separately and decoupled from trade, poverty, peace, environment, economy or any other issue. Climate change is a single issue for them and is dealt within those chambers only. Therefore, the inter-linkages between economic growth, development, poverty, environment, sustainability and peace do not have adequate space in one package solution.
Will the promised arrival of the heads of states of USA, China and India to COP15 change this lack of confidence amongst the PLATFORM members, as they will be the key to an emission reduction agreement? Another Indian, Prof. Atmanand, Dean at the Management Development Institute, India, stated that ”while technology can support mitigation of the harmful effects of climate change, with large potentials for sustainable energy production, the need for peoples vision and healthy relationships within humanity is far more important to make this dream a reality.”
A more optimistic sustainable entrepreneur from Taiwan, Mr. Daniel Ku has been running around the world to find innovations and solutions for a greener world. He says “like a tree I can only spring from only the roots. The solutions are under your feet and on earth". He means that the answers to the world problems are within our own communities and their environments. But, we are warned by the scientists and the bureaucrats that our destiny is merely within the limits of a liveable world.
Discovering a way to survive in a liveable world cannot and should not be the aspiration and determination of humankind. That is a compromise that we, as a generation, are trying to make on the lives of all future generations. While enjoying the offerings on earth today, we are planning a world of lesser enjoyment for the future humans. If we are only negotiating for a liveable world for our children and their children, then we are demonstrating intrinsically our selfish nature as a generation and it is simply fighting to get the best share for ourselves. If we are not planning a better world for our children, then we are planning their unhappiness. Therefore, our responsibility should not be to compromise the lives of our children by consenting to a liveable world, but we should be demanding a better world for them. The PLATFORM therefore demands that, it has to be climate sustainability!
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This article was originally published in OUTREACH a daily newsletter published by Stakeholder Forum