Versión en Español – http://wp.me/pRlnf-2V
“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.” – Michael Crichton
After the earthquakes that not only caused tragic death but left many Haitians homeless and hungry several world leaders and international delegations gathered at the U.N. General Assembly to state publicly their support for Haiti’s aid & reconstruction. There was consensus!
A year later, Haiti remains mostly in ruins moreover people have been struck with cholera, remaining as hungry and poor as before. Elections were held but still Haiti is lacking true leadership to fight for its survival amongst the nations that join it in plenary sessions at the U.N. headquarters. Meeting of scoundrels, as Michael Crichton put it?
At the height of the tragedy, one than one flamboyant world leader was in first line to appear in the headlines with his promises. Today, none of these have fulfilled their compromise to support Haiti’s return to a minimum decent life.
Had it not been for the NGOs operating in Haiti, I wonder if the death toll for both the earthquake and the cholera epidemic would have been worse. For them, Haitians do matter. For world leaders, Haiti is only an added burden in their crisis-menaced expenditures.
If the reconstruction was already supposed to take at least a decade, after this obvious indolence in contributing of the wealthier nations, I fear that Haiti will never regain its former level, already then amongst the poorest nations in the world.
Hay we lost all humanity and decency to permit this new ethical blunder?
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
- Mark Twain
Climate change? Who cares? …. This seems to be the generalised world attitude after a rather tepid Cancun meet that has been marred by Bolivia’s objections about the insufficient agreement reached.
Although the Cancun pact sets up a future billionaire “green” fund for developing countries and in some manner is an advance in greenhouse gas emissions reduction from industrial countries from 25 to 40 per cent in the next 10 years, debate on a much needed definite global pact has been postponed to the 2011 Durban Climate Conference, just a year before the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end.
True to say, China has tried to sell a softer image than its previous hard-line posture in the Copenhagen meet in 2009. Nevertheless, the deferment of the definite global pact may well permit this industrial giant to emit contaminating gases without supervision. Another Asian emerging giant, India, was nudged by the USA to accept emission limitations whilst China and the USA itself seem to skip a much desired supervision of their own emissions.
The Mexican conference president, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, had a rather relevant role to stop bickering and permit a consensus only Bolivia refused to accept. As she gavelled the end of the 193 countries’ meet, Espinosa breath in relief but was aware that a crack had been opened in the Latin American front.
What is worrying is that the so-called consensus pact reached last weekend has had little repercussion on citizenry comments over the globe. It seems that we, the citizens of the world, have lost not only faith in our leaders’ capability to resolve climate change nut also that we are less interested in this ever-growing problem.
As the clock ticks away the seconds to the finalisation of the Kyoto Protocol, we must admit that the $100 Billion Green Fund is no guarantee that emerging nations will apply same to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in their respective territories. Nor can we be sure that climate change will be channelled accordingly in other aspects of environmental protection, such as is the case of potable water facilities and ocean water protection.
As I see it, the real danger of a conflagration amongst nations in the next decades will revolve around water, its equitable distribution and the rights of all to avail of water resources towards quality of living.
This should make us consider seriously all that goes about around in the geo-political pacts on climate change and environmental resources global administration.
Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.
EU Environmental Consultant
The great American nation has voted and Obama has been punished for seeking reforms favourable to the U.S. citizenry in the first two years of his presidential term. The overwhelming Republican victory in the House of Congress is definitely the start of an uphill climb for President Obama and his White House advisors. Not only will the new Republican majority question and try to repeal approved laws such as Medicare but also will block any new initiatives in relevant fields such as economic reforms or foreign policy.
For those who are not familiar with the USA in its varied regional cultures, it is much harder to understand how voters in supposedly the world’s most powerful nation can change its historic support for America’s first Afro-American President two years ago to this sonorous defeat in the mid-term elections. Americans need a binding factor to keep their country at the top.
George W. Bush used the 9-11 tragedy to whip up American patriotism to get re-elected but left such a trail of discontent with the mounting deaths of American soldiers at the Iraq warfront. A change was needed and thus, Obama was put into the power seat at the White House four years later. The lower middle-class American expected Barack Obama to be the miracle-man who would shoo away the evil spirits of crisis and war that the Bush Administration had brought about in its second term.
Obama was aware of the timing by which he had scarcely 2 years to get America back to economic recovery, if he was to offer the Democratic Party a serene mid-term campaign. Unfortunately, such time pressure has worked against him on the local front. Whilst his popularity abroad brought him honours such as the Nobel Peace Award, the average American in the Midwest plus the Latin &the Afro-American communities continued to suffer the economic crisis and unemployment. The binding factor in the Democrat’s defeat in the recent congressional elections has been the so-called ‘fear syndrome’ magnificently availed of by the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.
The denominated ‘Tea Party’ campaigners have made good use of the economic crisis to make the middle and lower classes of the nation fear all that comes from abroad, in particular from the emerging nations of Asia and the southern neighbours of America.
One must point out a rather curious statement made by no less than NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg while assisting the C40 Climate Change Group Forum held in Hong Kong last week. Bloomberg, a billionaire that was a Democrat till 2001, then ran for office as a Republican and finally has turned independent before seeking a third mandate in 2009, has probably defined best the worries about the average American voter and the new political scene when he said, “If you look at the U.S., you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate—they can’t read, …. I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is.”
The U.S. 10-day presidential tour to Asia will not be enough to curtail fears about the new political scenario in Washington, D.C. nor solve the problems on hand. Obama must fight such ignorance at the home front not only because the voters do not have interest in learning more about the globalised world but also because the new congressmen that will scrutinize his proposed laws are just unprepared for such an intensive intellectual task in a world wrapped up in a single napkin in all relevant issues from economic crises thru terrorism up to climate change.
As America’s political & economic merry-go-round is about to commence its mid-term ride, new inexperienced faces will appear in the U.S. Congress & Senate. With a much less than a thorough knowledge of international politics, they are to dictate laws which will not only affect the American citizenry but likewise the other nations of the world.
What’s in the ride for the rest of us?