The calls for “urgent action” on climate change have been going on for a long time now. There were calls for urgent action before and after the annual climate change talks in Copenhagen 2009. The failure of those talks constitutes, in my opinion, the point where we pretty much doomed ourselves as a civilisation (if not as a species). The talks still grind on every year, but nothing useful seems to happen as a result. The recently concluded Doha talks are no exception. Doha blah blah blah.
What was agreed? “Damage aid” to poor countries – a recognition of the principle that they are going to be most affected by the coming disasters – but with no concrete plans and commitments that will make it happen. An “extension” of the Kyoto Protocol, but with so few participants as to be nearly useless (our very own National government shares a chunk of the blame). Plans for a more comprehensive agreement to be negotiated by 2015 and to come into force in 2020 (how’s that for urgent!). The same sort of talk and promises that have characterised every such conference as the world warms and warms.
Perhaps the only moment of genuine passion was the tears of the delegation from the Philippines, in the wake of typhoon Bopha, which left 600 dead and nearly 1000 missing. (Didn’t get as much coverage as Sandy for some reason.)
Also of interest, the moment which should mark the end of treating climate change deniers as anything other than the lunatics that they are, the expulsion (and permanent banning) of professional denier Christopher Monkton for impersonating a delegate from Burma so as to address the conference.
New Zealand under the Nats covered itself in ignominy, of course. For the first time ever (joint) winners of the grand prize, the Colossal Fossil, for obstruction of progress, our tattered environmental reputation takes a further nosedive.
It should be abundantly clear by now that the current generation of world leaders are not up to the challenge. By the time the Power Shift generation takes over they will be facing a near impossible task. I wonder what they will decide to do with the dwindling band of old fogies who got them in to this mess.