Tuesday, September 27th 2011, 5:10 PM EDT
At international level politics, economics and climate change science are closely interwoven. It was the European countries that were the first to swallow climate change science without question. They undertook measures to substantially reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other undesirable gases into the atmosphere in the hope that other nations of the world would follow their example. Pressures were exerted on the major developing nations particularly China and India to reduce their emissions regardless of the adverse economic consequences. They refused.
Last Thursday there was a sudden, dramatic sequence of events. The United Nations General Assembly was in session. The major world leaders were present as were the chiefs of the IMF and the World Bank. Within three days, the EU countries were searching for measures to prevent the complete collapse of their economies. The US was also in a difficult economic position.
It will take a week or two before the likely effects on COP17 become clear. In the meantime nobody should underestimate the severity of the events and their likely consequences on world economies.
Tuesday 27 September 2011
I delayed distributing this email in the hope that solutions may be found over the weekend. Things only got worse as this item in Monday morning's Business Day newspaper shows.
‘Europe came under fresh pressure yesterday to ramp up its response to the euro-zone debt crisis, after a week that took the world economy to the brink, battered markets and raised fear of a new global recession.’
This morning’s Beeld newspaper reported that our Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs who is responsible for organising COP17, informed a meeting in Durban that only after the 37 wealthiest nations undertook to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions could they expect South Africa and other developing nations to undertake these measures. Obviously, this is not going to happen.
It is the combination of the suddenness of the economic collapse and the continuing deterioration of the West versus the Rest relations that I find personally disturbing. Guns and bombs are no longer the only means of conducting warfare.