Whatever you do, do nothing

And so the G-8 Summit draws to a close in Japan. This Group of Eight major nations somehow manages to exclude from membership both India and China, which between them account for more than a third of humanity, as well (in China’s case anyhow) as the up-and-coming industrial powerhouse of the world. It’s quite the exclusive club, this G8.

Great news then that they took the massive step forward of promising to “do something” about climate change at some future point, ideally between now and 2050. This takes the form of a ‘long term commitment to halving emissions by mid-century. This has been described as a ‘shared vision’ – as ambiguous a phrase as any you’re likely to hear from the lips of a politician.

But naturally there are far more pressing matters occupying the agendas of the Rich Club than climate collapse, species extinction and ecological chaos and the economic ruin it will visit on us all, yes, even including those same G8 countries whose leaders are so utterly indifferent to it.

One shouldn’t be churlish, however. Last year’s meeting was even worse; then they said they would “think about” setting limits on emissions, versus this year, in which they firmly resolved to kick the problem where it belongs – into the next generation, today’s children and teenagers. Who better to clean up the septic mess that our orgy of overconsumption is creating than our kids – brilliant!

That’ll serve those self-indulgent layabouts (OK, some are just laying about in their cots right now) and teach them a thing or two about a thing or two. We party all night, we thrash the joint, we empty the pension funds and THEY get to eke out some kind of existence in what’s left of the Earth. Wow, we G8 types really do hate kids!

“Never was more urgent action needed by the G-8 than this week,” said Jeremy Hobbs, of the advocacy group Oxfam. “The G-8 failed to rise to the challenge of a world in crisis.” Crisis, what crisis, Jeremy? Have you seen the menu? Hosting this shindig alone cost Japan around $500 million, including nearly $100 million spent building a stunning media centre.

Best of all was the delicious menu served up to the leaders and their spouses, including caviar, truffles and milk-fed lamb, all lovingly prepared by a team of chefs specially flown in to Hokkaido. It was all washed down with some darned fine vintage champagnes, sake and wines with mouth-watering price tags.

The meals stretched to 18 daintily prepared courses, designed to tempt, tease and toy with the palate. Meanwhile, out of view of Hokkaido, Oxfam unsportingly pointed out that another 100 million people have slipped this year alone into abject poverty and starvation as food prices soar.

As Marie Antoinette reputedly enjoined on being informed that the poor of Paris had no food: “Let them eat cake!”

The Japanese, embarrassed at having to pay the tab for this extravaganza, have been desperate to spin it as some kind of breakthrough. Tony Durham of AidAction International put it another way: “The cost of including the US in this agreement was pulling back from Bali. That’s not much of a deal”.

Last November’s hard-battled UN Climate Summit in Bali was obstructed every step of the way (as usual) by the US delegation, until even they were squirming so much with discomfort that they grudgingly went along with the ‘Bali roadmap’ (knowing they would have ample time once the media had moved on to once again cripple the process well ahead of the Copenhagen conference at the end of 2009).

We still have to endure another 196 days of this atrocious Bush regime before either John McCain or Barack Obama is sworn in next January. Time generally flies, but each of these days is going to feel like a month. As a small sample of the calibre of president the US will be waving farewell to, here’s what Mr Bush said during a speech in Dakar, Senegal this very day five years ago, in 2003:

“It’s very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast (sic) and their religion and their belief in freedom helped change America”.

Freedom-loving slavery? No surprise really. What else would you expect from a peace-loving, planet-wrecking waterboarding warmonger? God help America, God save us all.

ThinkOrSwim is a blog by journalist John Gibbons focusing on the inter-related crises involving climate change, sustainability, resource depletion, energy and biodiversity loss
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3 Responses to Whatever you do, do nothing

  1. ciaran says:

    I think it is time to ask america why, no one except their allies, are alowed to develope nuclear defences. After all america is the only nation on Earth to use such weapons of mass destruction on others, at least Sadam didn’t invade america. As regards climate change, it’s obvious that the g8 don’t believe climate change is important or even happening, otherwise they would have agreed to join the rest of the World immediately, to curtail consumtion and agree to invest in non-polluting technogoly to help the poor and oppressed nations. Remember only the poor recognise poverty the rich don’t know what they are talking about and cannot understand them. As for america all they ever talk about is american rights and american citizens, lets face it america is not self sufficient where would they be without immigrants even their scientists were robbed from Germany as spoils of war. War is all that america’s power brokers want and understand.Ordinary citizens of every nation should lobby their politicians to demand ALL RICH NATIONS to change any policy that does not disperse wealth in a more fair and compassionate way and in the meantime boycott as many products as possible that come from exploited countries. The Indian, Aisian or Chinees do not get western wages but the g8 get western profitsand are in the process of impoverishing their own countries to achieve this, look at what is happening to Ireland at the moment. The oil crisis is american speculation lead after all the Arabs are not getting the rise in prices and america is still selling cheap oil by western standards.I have to go now to gather sticks to heat my house.

  2. Gerald Looney says:

    For years, I had to admonish my emergency room staffs, “Don’t just do something, Stand there! (and think)” because of the natural tendency to make a snap judgment/diagnosis and treat an unclear problem with clearly dangerous medications and procedures. This is actually the ancient medical wisdom of PRIMUM NON NOCERE (above all, do no harm). Methinks it also applies to Global Warming as well, though John Gibbons clearly has no doubts about the case, and that worries me. American Law holds that a plaintiff is innocent until proven guilty, but John appears to believe the opposite (perhaps because he is against anything American!). He reminds me of an ancient Irish quote: “Thy words might arouse anger, did not thy ignorance create compassion!” If anyone, including John, would like to hear the other side of the story, I will include the new scripture references I was unable to attach last week to my Comment on global warming:

    I know several of these authors personally, and I can vouch for the veracity and validity of all of them.
    Gerald Looney

  3. Billy the kid says:

    Wow John, you must have really yanked Mick O’Leary’s chain pretty hard in the paper to have gotten savaged the way he went for you in the Letters Page yesterday!! He’s always a good laugh when he’s ranting and raving, so hope you don’t take it to heart and that you keep in mind that there’s lots of us who don’t happen to think that 5 euro fares to Siberia are really the worlds best or brightest thing to be promoting in the current climate.

    Thanks be to god for oil prices, its the only thing ever puts any manners on people. In the US, the Hummers are being turned into chicken coops, people are FINALLY begining to see the fact that driving V8 engined tanks on 100-mile one person daily commutes is maybe not the worlds smartest way to work. If its a kick in the arse that it takes, then so be it.

    Poor Mick O’Leary though, you really, really hurt his feelings, he’s sure he’s next in line to the Pope for being the man to freed Ireland for our right to Partee, any time, any place, anywhere, just so long as it’s cheep cheep cheep! I hope you’ll be nice to poor Mick from now on John, he’s got a family to feed too and a lot on his mind!

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