If we want to see change from negotiations, we need to see fundamental changes in the way decisions are actually made. Politicians and bureaucrats with connections to oil and gas profiteers are not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is in their bank accounts' best interest to pollute. This holiday season give the gift of climate justice. Give the gifts of solidarity, resistance, and community power.
In 1971, Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas between China and India, rejected the idea of gross domestic product as the measure of progress. Instead, leaders focused on gross national happiness. Life expectancy in Bhutan has doubled over the past 20 years. Our leaders could brighten all our lives by considering what really makes our societies strong, healthy and happy.
Although climate scientists around the world have been issuing dire warnings for decades, public perception of climate change has been changing at a snail's pace, perhaps implying that people may be disengaged from the topic. However the deeper issue could be a lack of public understanding resulting from poor communication (by the scientists and media) of a complex climate science.
The outcome of the Doha Climate Change Conference could be a plan that postpones any real global climate action until 2020, effectively ensuring that business as usual is given nearly a decade to continue. Put simply, the climate deal being proposed in Doha locks in inaction, enshrines a lack of ambition, sidelines equity and suspends justice.
Developed countries, when they put 30 per cent emissions reductions or less on the table are effectively putting death, displacement and devastation on the table. To call current targets enough, is to effectively announce that on this planet there are acceptable losses in those regions least responsible for causing climate change. People are connecting the dots between extreme weather, droughts and famine, desertification, deforestation, rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires, and a range of devastating impacts the result of a changed climate. They are connecting these dots to a history of the fossil fuel industry and wealthy, developed nations having free reign pollute.