Shamed by Africa

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 am, November 4th, 2009 - 9 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment - Tags:



On Monday climate change negotiations got under way in Barcelona – “the final chance for negotiators to hammer out a text before December’s Copenhagen summit”.


It seems that these vital talks may have failed already. Geoff Keey reports:

It’s been a dramatic first day at the climate change negotiations here in Barcelona and it’s fair to say frustration with developed countries like New Zealand has exploded. The Kyoto Protocol negotiations are currently suspended. Until further notice, there will be no negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol.

The first signs of trouble occurred in the morning when the African Group (the group of African countries at the negotiations who work together) warned that if there wasn’t sufficient progress in the negotiations on developed country emission reduction targets, they’d walk about and not allow further meetings to be scheduled.

The African Group’s threat reflects increasing frustration over the refusal of developed countries like New Zealand to adopt strong climate change targets.

Then in the afternoon, the chair of the meeting to discuss developed country targets told countries to not restate their targets (eg – like New Zealand’s nothing- 20% target) but to talk about how they could increase those targets. In other words, current proposed targets are well below what’s needed.

The request from the chair of the negotiations was met with complete silence from developed countries for around five minutes before South Africa finally said they were disappointed no developed country was willing to speak. From then on a walk-out was inevitable.

We’ve been spending much of the evening working out what’s going on. As I learn more, I’ll let you know….

We have been shamed by Africa. Yes, they are playing a very dangerous game of brinksmanship. But I agree with their actions. In this case an inadequate Treaty is as bad as no Treaty. The laws of physics are not going to give us a free pass. If we lack the will to save the environment we might as well stop pretending and go home – and never meet our children’s eyes again.

[Updates will probably appear here first.]

9 comments on “Shamed by Africa”

  1. Peter Johns 1


    [lprent: Hey, I can do generic cultural abuse as well – anyone can. It doesn’t take brains. But really only inbred motherfuckers like you do it. Most people have more brains. Don’t come back for at least a month. ]

  2. Good post.

    The CO2 output of a average Ethiopian is 0.1 tonnes per year, Uganda 0.06 tonnes per year and Somalia does not even register. The CO2 output of an average Kiwi is 8.16 tonnes per year and for the average American it is 19.66 tonnes per year.

    There is a wonderful interactive map here.

    It is the most chilling thing I have seen for a while.

  3. RedLogix 3

    The thing that is really, really making me angry, frustrated and downright ashamed of being a New Zealander right now… is the sheer number of fuckwits I work with and socialise with who have happily, willingly and uncritically fallen for the denier propaganda.

    It’s not a minority; it’s the majority of people I know. It’s reached the point where I either change the subject or quietly leave the room, because discussing it with them is damaging and futile. It’s hard to have respect for people who are being wilfully wrong.

    We will deserve exactly what we get.

    • Roger 3.1

      yes, and unfortunately, it will actually be developing nations that will suffer the harshest consequences from the ignorance of the deniers.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    Its the ‘It won’t happen to me syndrome’ despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Same sort of logic that people who drive at 130km/h around sharp bends, thinking their skill and good luck will save them.

    No matter how incontrovertible the evidence (Melting Polar ice- nothing 400 ppm Co2- so what), some people will always be in denial.

  5. geek 5

    RL it is easier to accept a falshood which promises an easier path than to face up to a truth that will call for sacrafice from all. This is where polititions need courage. Unfortunatly ours see huge entities like the US and China leading us down this path and feel there is nothing we can do. It makes it easier to fal in behind when you have the excuse of “but we alone can’t do it”.

  6. ieuan 6

    You guys heard of ‘green fatigue’?

    • BLiP 6.1

      Yeah – Its a term coined by denialists to desribe the stage when people’s guilt about their inaction over taking personal, practical steps to assist the environment reaches the point that they simply switch off and stick their head firmly up their arse.

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