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The Limits of Our Politics


As millions come to grips with the claimed agreements emerging from the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, it’s impossible to resist the suspicion that politics can provide no solution to the serious environmental and ecological problems facing the earth.
 
Despite the absurdity of shout shows which daily disparage global warming, it is a fact that sea ice in the Arctic is melting, as are Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets.  This, coupled with melting glacial  ice in places like the Himalayas, spells climate change that threatens disaster for millions of people in the region of Bangladesh, and the Indian state of West Bengal.
 
It means both flooding and drought, increased heat, more disease and the destruction of human habitat.
 
Politicians, speaking for their nation states, pledge a lessening of carbon emissions by 2020, thereby ignoring the view of many scientists that if all such emissions ceased today, the deleterious effects would be devastating.
 
Eleven years from now, very few of the politicians making today’s agreement will be in office. As Bush showed, it’s relatively easy to abrogate a treaty obligation — just ignore it.
 
Politicians are overwhelmingly the hirelings of the corporate class; they often do their bidding, as it is usually them — and only them — who can afford them!
 
When the Tuvalu Islands, low lying atolls in the South west Pacific, go underwater; when rivers burst their banks  in Bangladesh; when drought threatens millions in India and Africa, will we look back at Copenhagen and think, ‘well done?’
 
I think not.
 
 
[Source: Foster, John Bellamy, "The Vulnerable Planet Fifteen Years Later, " Monthly Review {vol. 61:no. 7}, (Dec. 2009), pp.17-19.]

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