Unfortunately, a historic opportunity fizzles
While the G20 leaders did, at the end of their recent summit, promise to come up with $1.1 trillion to help the global economy as it continues to battle the ongoing financial crisis, the fact that so little was said about global warming, a green new deal and sustainable jobs was a major disappointment.
For more than a year now, there has been a growing chorus from politicians, scientists, business leaders and environmentalists that goes like this: the economy is in crisis, yes, but so is Earth’s atmosphere. Since both crises are directly linked, let’s find a common solution to create a new and sustainable world order.
So you could almost feel a global letdown when the G20 leaders, revelling in the
the pomp and circumstance that was front and centre at last week’s summit in London, seemed to revert to their same-old business-as-usual approach, meaning that, despite some fine rhetoric about the importance of fighting climate change, short-term economic issues are the only issues that matter, after all.
In reading the communiqué, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown did say leaders were committed to promoting low-carbon growth, creating new green jobs, and reaching a new post-Kyoto agreement at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December.
But that was it: a couple of very non-specific paragraphs tacked onto the end of the message.
Just what, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) wonders, will it take for our leaders to start leading when it comes to the fate of humankind? Groups that shared our bafflement included Friends of the Earth.
G20 nations have “short-changed” people and the planet by doing far too little to tackle the threat of catastrophic climate change at their summit, the organisation warned.
“The economic system and the global environment are on a devastating collision course -- but despite pledging to build an inclusive, green and sustainable recovery little has been done to change direction,” said Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins.
“The world must seize the huge benefits of investing in green technologies and energy systems - this will slash emissions and create millions of new jobs around the world. The financial system must be urgently overhauled to prioritise the urgent need to develop a low-carbon future - and avoid a massive bill to deal with the devastating consequences of unchecked climate change later on.”
EWEA heartily agrees. For some time now, the science has been clear: burning fossil fuels associated with oil, coal and gas are threatening our existence by creating greenhouse gases that can heat up our atmosphere to an unsustainable temperature. For some time now, the technology of choice has been clear: wind power can deliver ever increasing amounts of affordable, local, non-polluting electricity while also creating thousands of new jobs and driving research to an entirely new dimension.
All that is needed is for our politicians to act, before it is too late.