APEC touts "aspiration;" dashes hope

UPDATE: Environmentalists reject APEC climate agreement. 

There was never any reason to hope that the conference of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries was going to come to anything useful. The goal, as Australian Prime Minister John Howard stated from the outset, was to prevent the implementation of binding emission reduction targets.

Now we come away with vague climate intensity targets - little more more than business as usual - and a round of self-congratulatory rhetoric.

It's not just that this “agreement” is toothless. It's not just that Howard and U.S. President George Bush will try to use it to try to argue that the useful starter targets in the Kyoto accord can be replaced with something unenforceable.

It is, rather, depressing proof that these “world leaders” just don't get it.

Of course, we've had hints. Bush, for example, showed up in Australia with an entourage of 700 and a small fleet of vehicles on three 747s. The Sydney Morning Herald estimated that the airborne cavalcade emitted 57,885 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the amount produced by 2,000 average Australians in a year. (And Australians' per capita CO2 production is among the highest in the world.)

This can be dismissed as cheap-shot journalism. You can't expect the leader of the richest country and the most bellicose administration in the world to climb on board a Qantas flight with a secretary and no security. But you'd think that someone in that embattled administration would have anticipated this kind of criticism. You'd think, in the internet age, that 350 of those officials could have waited at the other end of the phone for their opportunity to give APEC input. You'd think that Bush, et al, would muster a little more energy in the pretense that they care about the climate.

Alas, you'd be wrong.


This analysis is “right-on” and expresses my feelings exactly. As a Canadian, I’m also chagrined that the Australian Prime Minister John Howard specifically expressed thanks to CANADA for its input in putting together this worthless document referred to as a “climate agreement.” It can only be regarded as an oxymoron at best - instead of addressing climate control as a high priority with the need to lay down specific targets, it does the exact opposite: absolutely nothing! Do they think we’re stupid or something?

Governments will not act ahead of the voters, as that would be political suicide. They will not act ahead of industry lobby groups and their threat of lessening jobs or lessening political contributions. We got in this state one small decision at a time. Individuals bought an energy guzzling SUV, dryer, leaf blower et al….industry hoped we would buy them, but did not force us to do so.

If the consumer mood changes, industry will have to re tool, and governments will have to act. The mood must change first. So, use you clothes line, lobby to remove restrictive covenants on clotheslines if need be. Use a rake, not a leaf blower, you might even drop a pound or two. If you are tool frail to use a rake, do not feel guilty, just find another way to do something yourself that you formerly used electricity or fossil fuels to do. Try a few energy efficient windows in the house when it comes to repair or replacement time. Plant your favourite kind of fruit trees on the south side of your house, they will both shade you and feed you. They will also replace the shipping of those fruits for a few months from somewhere else to your grocery store. You won’t need to buy cherries when you can stand under the tree and stuff yourself on dead ripe fruit, fragrant and still warm from the sun.

Jobs need not come at the expense of ensuring future freshwater, food, and migration stability.
Reference #9 on this page states wind turbines create 27% more jobs per MW/h (not cost, mind you) than coal plants, and 66% more jobs than natural gas. Wind turbines could even save the auto sector workforces of Ontario, Michigan and Ohio.
This is more about electing leaders at all levels of government with the right industrial ties, and intergenerational mindsets (ie. steeper tax-rates).