Earth Summit: Tony Blair stands up for a world view;
little George stands up for living high in the midst of world poverty and
pollution and global warming
The world is becoming more and more aligned against the United States and little George's "pillage the world" business philosophy. The unfortunate thing is that not only is the rest of the world considered second class citizens by little George, so is everyone who is not in the top one percent of wealth within the United States.
little George represents the interest of big money and little else. No one can bring in the campaign money like little George and he does it by letting his rich buddies know that he will always vote money and business and war over humanity and a world view.
The United States cannot remain isolated. The world leaders are not afraid of speaking up any more. The United Nations is gaining power daily by supporting these world summits. Nations are coming together. They are saying to hell with the United States.
Something must change. little George must go.
Leaders accused of hypocrisy
By Richard Ingham
Johannesburg: World leaders at a summit on the Earth's future today painted a dark tableau of a planet marked by sickening disparities in wealth, its natural resources plundered with some nearly exhausted.
But green campaigners and aid groups accused them of hypocrisy, saying their promises to tackle such evils masked an empty compromise on an action plan, and warned the global crisis could worsen.
And furious verbal salvos, fired by Zimbabwe and Iraq at the big powers which regard them as international pariahs, helped sour the mood.
"Our house is burning down and we're blind to it," said French President Jacques Chirac.
"Nature, mutilated and over-exploited, can no longer regenerate, and we refuse to admit it ... the Earth and mankind are in danger, and we are all responsible."
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany declared that climate change, inflicted by man's reckless burning of fossil fuels, had already begun, causing floods and drought on three continents this year.
"There has been a dramatic increase in extreme weather conditions and it shows one thing very clearly - that climate change is no longer a sceptical forecast only, it is a reality wherever we are," he said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair highlighted famine, war, poverty and disease in Africa, saying they claimed the life of one child every three seconds.
"If Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world, we have a duty to heal it," he said.
United States President George W Bush was absent from the meeting, which gathered around 100 heads of state and government, a snub which infuriated environmentalists.
America's isolation was compounded as country after country called on Bush to end his boycott of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the cornerstone of efforts to avert catastrophic climate change.
And Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said his national parliament would vote on ratifying the treaty by the end of the year.
Behind the scenes, exhausted negotiators inched toward completing a 71-page, non-binding action plan that has been a political warzone.
They cleared the last big hurdle with a deal on providing access to electricity for the two billion people living in dire poverty, and encouraging renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
One less, but still tenacious, obstacle remained in place: textual references touching on women's rights to contraception and abortion.
The European Union fought hard for renewables to account for 15 per cent of the world's energy market by 2010, but was outgunned by the US and oil-producing nations, while the bloc of developing nations stood on the sidelines.
The Plan of Implementation is due to be approved tomorrow at the end of the 10-day summit, along with a political declaration of support for sustainable development.
The blueprint is non-binding but carries political weight, because it will shape the environmental agenda for the next decade.
Activists reacted with dismay, saying much of the draft compromise was toothless and a disappointing climbdown from the goals of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago.
They branded the energy deal a body blow to hopes that developing countries could be weaned off fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide as they burn and thus help to trap heat from the sun, increasing global warming.
Friends of the Earth gave the summit a two-out-of-ten rating on trade and globalisation agreements in an End of Term Report, condemning the World Trade Organisation's "unprecedented dominance" over the negotiations.
Oxfam spokesman Alex Renton told AFP: "The summit has been far worse than our most pessimistic predictions in addressing trade and agricultural subsidies."
Schroeder promised a billion euros ($A1.82 billion) to help developing countries gain access to clean, efficient energy and announced he would host a conference on renewable energy next year.
Blair said Britain would boost its commitment to development aid for Africa from STG700 million ($A2 billion) to STG1 billion ($A2.87 billion) a year by 2006.
And he and Chirac pledged to inject 100 million euros ($A179.2 million) each into a fund to help guarantee investment in developing countries, an initiative they hoped would leverage as much as a billion euros from the private sector for investment in the third world.
The EU promised it would reform the lavish system of agricultural subsidies and tariff barriers blamed for destroying the livelihood of rural farmers in the developing world.
But it refused to go beyond its vague promise to launch three-year "discussions" in the World Trade Organisation about phasing out farm support.
Blair's global warning
A sorry record on the environment
Tuesday September 3, 2002
For politicians to speak up for and take action on behalf of an electorate not yet born merits congratulation. For Tony Blair to do so over the issue of climate change, a fault line between London and Washington, twice in two days is not only brave but right. In both speeches, one to heads of state in Johannesburg at the world summit on sustainable development and another delivered in Mozambique's capital Maputo, Mr Blair noted the ills of poverty, pollution and pestilence. But his insight was not the world's plight but the failure to act over it. "What is truly shocking is not the scale of the problems. The truly shocking thing is that we know the remedies."
Mr Blair dispensed good cures for economies to develop without damaging the environment. More equitable trade arrangements for poor nations, more aid for developing countries and more good governance, he rightly says, will help. The value of functioning democracy can be seen by the lack of one in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe's misrule has helped cast the shadow of famine across his country. Mr Mugabe's use of the platform to play domestic politics only heightens Mr Blair's more enlightened approach. The prime minister noted that the Kyoto protocol, which mandated reductions in the levels of greenhouse gases emitted by industrial countries, was "right and should be ratified by all of us". "Kyoto only slows the present rate of damage. To reverse it, we need to reduce dramatically the level of pollution."
This will not be welcomed in Washington where the Bush administration's antipathy led to America's acrimonious departure from the global agreement. George Bush sees it as a brake on the engine of American growth. Mr Blair was right to challenge this. Kyoto can still survive without the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, but the US's snub has unsettled Russia which must ratify the treaty for it to take effect.
Mr Blair is right to focus on climate change, a slow, uncertain process which has brought about rising temperatures and led to increased flooding and drought. The greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue to warm the planet for many decades. There is about 40% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there was at the dawn of the industrial revolution and more is being belched out, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, every day. Left unchecked emissions could raise global temperatures by nearly six degrees this century. This is why the populations of rich nations need to use resources much more efficiently - and may require targets to do so. Developing countries also need incentives to adopt greener technologies.
It is depressing then that the the European push in Johannesburg is faltering for targets on increasing the use of renewable energy sources such as wind power at the expense of coal or oil burning. Opposition comes from a coalition of the US, Opec and some poor countries which say new technologies are expensive and consume valuable national income. This is no argument. Global warming affects water supplies and farming, and displaces populations. The countries most vulnerable to climate change are those in the tropics and the south. The focus in Johannesburg has been on poverty, not pollution - but it is the poor who will suffer first if climate change is not stopped. Mr Blair's contribution is that the obligation to future generations must be balanced by the need to help today's poorest. The prime minister may not have all the answers but, at a cost of stirring resentment across the Atlantic, he is prepared to contemplate the questions.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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