Saturday, December 13, 2008

Poznan and Brussels: Failure

The news from Poznan and from the European Union is deeply depressing.

In Europe what we are seeing is a last ditch attempt by the dinosaurs of the old industrial system to hang on to what they once had.

The transition to a low carbon economy to cope with the pressures of climate change was always going to be either chaotic and disruptive, or managed and planned well. It looks like it is more the first than the last.

Governments pay far too much attention to the demands of the old industries. At the very least they should be giving concessions to them only in exchange for targeted, rapid evolution to reliance on post-carbon technology.

At Poznan it is the developed countries who have blocked the establishment of rigorous targets. At Brussels, it was Germany s trying to protect its heavy industry in a bizarre alliance with Poland and Berlusconi.

Poznan also saw little progress in helping the developing world make the necessary transition -- the developed world is now too caught up in a financial crisis of its own making.

Is this the worst possible outcome? Not quite. There are still more negotiations to come in the post-Kyodo process. But one thing we don't have is time.

Representatives of the Cap and Share group of which the Low Carbon Kid is a member who went to Poznan reported back on the almost futility of their visit. Thousands of campaigners, each with their own particular message actually locked out of the area where the real decision-making was taking place.

Our own strategy will now be to target decision-makers here. Beginning with the policymakers at DECC and the new Climate Change Committee led by Lord Turner who put out their own sadly inadequate report two weeks ago. Why inadequate? Because the climate is changing more rapidly than predicted two years ago by the IPCC.

In case anybody doubts that the hour is not late, do read the evidence amassed in this report by my colleagues at the Public Information Research Centre.

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