Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Can’t Help It, It’s Our Nature

The most successful parasites have the good sense not to kill their hosts. With this in mind, it seems that US leaders aren’t quite as sensible as your average head louse or tapeworm. This is Naomi Klein blogging about our not so noble — or wise — contribution to the growing fiasco at Copenhagen:

It’s frustrating because I was just at Hillary Clinton’s press conference and desperately wanted to ask her a question – or six. She said that the U.S. would contribute its “share” to a $100-billion financing package for developing countries by 2020 – but only if all countries agreed to the terms of the climate deal that the U.S. has slammed on the table here, which include killing Kyoto, replacing legally binding measures with the fuzzy concept of “transparency,” and nixing universal emissions targets in favor of vague “national plans” that are mashed together. Oh, and abandoning the whole concept (which the U.S. agreed to by singing the UN climate convention) that the rich countries that created the climate crisis have to take the lead in solving it.

Unless every country here agrees to the U.S. terms, the Secretary explained, “there will not be that kind of a [financial] commitment, at least from the United States.”

It was naked blackmail – forcing developing countries to choose between a strong fair deal that stands a chance of averting climate chaos and the funds they need to cope with the droughts and floods that have already arrived. I wanted to ask Clinton: Is this not climate structural adjustment, on a global scale? We'll give you cash, but only with our draconian conditions?

And who is the U.S. to call the shots when it carries the heaviest responsibility for emitting the gasses that are already wreaking havoc on the climates of the global south – what happened to the principle that the polluter pays?

We’re killing our host, but even in the face of self-destruction, the US just can’t resist an opportunity to bully the world and smash the poor. It’s all we know how to do. Our urge to dominate is greater than our instinct for self-preservation.

Would it kill us not to act like such greedy assholes, just for once?

No comments: