December 6, 2011
The Climate opportunists are showing up all over Durban for the COP 17 UNFCCC Climate Conference. Not only are there clopportunists from the environmental NGO world … who have all found the budgets and the carbon offsetting to fly to South Africa (in order to complain about how so few others are attending). Some clopportunists are walking around Durban passing out business cards from new organisations and consultancies that are dedicated to feeding off of the climate industry. We should therefore not begrudge developing countries for having rejigged their development aid needs to meet the demands of the coming catastrophe.
Aid strategies have always followed dominant narratives in society and countries or regions in need should not be belied for their attempts at issue manipulation. From the Cold War to the famine politics to pandemic crises, international aid has always found its maximisation context. Sadly, as our attention has been distracted by effective campaigns of environmental activists towards a fictitious war on climate, aid distribution has now shifted from societal and economic development and empowerment projects for those truly in need, towards funding for “saving the planet” and preparing for ill effects that time and time have proven to be false.
There has been a rich history of appeals for funds to compensate the suffering that developing countries have or will likely endure from the western world’s CO2 emissions. Island states from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean have been regularly tapping funds to prepare for their expected evacuation. How can we forget the IPCC’s dire warnings of the hoards of climate refugees escaping to Western shores because of the unmitigated effects from the climate models (estimated date of arrival of these refugees is … 2010 … Ooops!).
The prize in Durban so far for the best appeal for urgent funding to fight global warming goes to the Congolese army (and kudos to the BBC for their journalistic integrity in reporting this as a climate story). It seems the army is having a hard time in the battle against militias and insurgents in the Congolese jungles. Representatives from the Congo are at COP 17 urgently requesting funds to help their military protect the rainforest (as these insurgents, if they get the upper hand, might cut down trees). I don’t hold anything against Congolese officials for creativity in reading the present aid narrative – as anyone who lives in certain quarters of Brussels knows, they have always had great success in wresting international aid for ethereal programmes. But I can only mock the BBC for taking this proposal seriously in their news fabricating process and the more I watch their report, the more I mourn their loss of journalistic integrity.
Certain countries are beginning to circle the climate honey pot, staking out positions and guarding against threats (India was yelped at in Durban for trying to sour the anticipation of climate aid). This is the final frontier of the climate debate (IPCC’s Pachauri’s promised showdown of wealth redistribution and climate justice). But why is this Hail Mary card being played so soon? Is it because more countries are starting to walk away from the table? Is it because the recent IPCC ‘managing the risks of climate change’ report admitted that climate evolutions over the coming decades would not be influenced by human activity? Is it because the polar bear population is not going extinct, but to the contrary, is thriving and expanding (much to the misfortune of baby seal populations and WWF’s ego)? Is it because the scientific inaccuracies, political manipulations and poor models have largely diminished public concern over climate change? Or is it because the Chinese have sent their largest COP delegation ever to South Africa?
As European finance ministers know very well, when Chinese diplomats arrive with big expectations, it is understandable to find ourselves getting weak in the knees, lowering our standards and losing our integrity.David Zaruk