Planet Earth, PLC
Two years ago, during the climatic conference in Bali, a plan to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol was approved. One of the main flaws of the Kyoto protocol was the fact that the quickly industrialising countries in the former colonial sphere of the West were not included amongst those states who were obliged to limit their emissions. The other main flaw was the fact that many countries, for instance the USA, until recently the largest world polluter, stood outside the Kyoto process for many years and basically blocked it (until Russia joined the Kyoto protocol in 2004).
The United Nations met in Bali as if it were a public limited company and agreed that it would define the rights and the duties of all their shareholders in a new and better way at the next meeting in Copenhagen. However, we can see at the end of the Copenhagen conference that the PLC has been practically asset stripped and, at the last minute, the capital has been taken over by a new firm which has been founded by the USA, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
These countries have approved an agreement which instead of defining the rights and duties of the shareholders who were so far "standing outside the game” has completely excluded them from all the decision making. What is more, the United States, as an insider, has freed itself even of those obligations which it was supposed to fulfil according to the Kyoto protocol. While the old Kyoto company was a firm with imperfect, but relatively precisely defined rules, the new firm is a company with a sharply limited liability. This "League of superpolluters", as it has been dubbed by Bill McKibben, has issued a political declaration which contains "such large holes that Air Force One could fly through them," says Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International. The new declaration does not contain any emission limits. It does not include any concrete plan of further action. The members of the club, ie. those who now talk to each other, guarantee the future of the planet only up to the level of their own investment.
It has been known for decades that the universal emancipation ideology of the West has been discredited - at least since the beginning of the 1970s when the vision of the gradual modernisation and industrialisation of the Third World countries in the style of the First of the Second World has collided with the brutal fact that natural resources are limited and had been mostly used up by the First World for its own industrialisation. Those who in spite of it all cherished the hope for a general brotherly agreement to be signed in Copenhagen have been brutally shown the error of their ways. An "emission club " has been set up, something like the "nuclear club". This "emission club" intends to determine the rules of the game for everyone else. Apart from that only charitable payments are being given . No fair economic development will take place.
It is interesting to take note who has been left outside the new club of the elect. Already during the first trip of President Obama to Europe it was possible to notice that the old continent was no longer an important strategic partner for the United States. Europe has become a kind of folkloristic area where it may be cool for the American president to pose in front of the photographers but Europe is no longer a partner for the United States to discuss serious matters. Obama arrived, made an attractive speech, and everyone then went to Turkey to debate the question of the strategic energy pipelines. Not even the US army now regards Europe as the main battlefield because Russia is no longer the main rival for the United States. America's main rival is now the strengthening China. Europe has long ceased being the centre of the world. Although it is still quite powerful economically, its demographic trends are negative and it has few energy resources of its own. Hence it will be gradually marginalised.
Those who remember a child's kaleidoscope may recall the moment when the slowly moving and clattering fragments of coloured glass suddenly moved quickly and formed a totally new shape which was quite unlike the one we saw until that moment. It looks as though were are now witnessing a sudden crystallisation of new international structures. And the state of the planet, the extent of the dissatisfaction of those who have been excluded as well as the real condition of the US economy guarantee that the next change of the configuration will not be long in coming.
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