“I have the feeling of dread that we are on the Titanic and sinking fast, but we can’t launch any life boats because a member of the crew has decided that we are not sinking and that we have to have informal consultations to decide whether we are sinking or not.”
— Ian Fry, chief negotiator for Tuvalu
“The rich countries of the north helped bankers, the big banks. I’ve forgotten the figure, but it’s astronomical. What they’re saying on the streets is that ‘if the climate was a bank they would already have saved it’. I think it’s true.”
— Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela
“If (former Vice President) Dick Cheney can argue that even a 1 percent chance of a terrorist attack is 100 percent justification for preemptive action, then surely, when scientists tell us that climate change is nearly a 100 percent certainty, we ought to be able to stand together…and join in an all out effort to combat a mortal threat to the life of this planet.”
–John Kerry, US Senator
The US has been conspicuous by its silence and inaction at Copenhagen. Rather than playing a public role and actively working towards change, it has been inert and unhelpful. Oh yes, I know all the standard White House excuses. Those bad Republicans are making it hard for us. We don’t have the votes in Congress. We are focused on the economy instead. And so on. And on. And on.
We don’t need excuses and more bla bla bla. We need real change, like with reining in the banks, with health care reform, and with climate change policy. So far, Obama has been a rather dismal failure on all three fronts, perhaps deliberately so.
Treehugger also asks, Is capitalism to blame for climate change?
Well, the USSR wasn’t exactly gentle to the environment and China, which is still nominally communist and certainly is centrally run by the government, is the biggest polluter on the planet (Yes, they have lots of people, but are also building coal plants like mad.) Venture capitalists in the US are pumping lots of money and expertise into cleantech. So is the Chinese government. I don’t much care where the answers come from, only that they do.