Sunday, December 19, 2010


IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN CANCUN - Hopes for a wide-ranging and legally binding climate-change treaty any time soon died last December at a much-anticipated conference in Copenhagen. A year later in Cancun, ambitions were tamped down. Some of the toughest questions, such as about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, were hardly addressed. The Cancun conference became more about rescuing the complex international climate negotiation framework from irrelevancy or even collapse. It seems to have done so - by beginning to establish international institutions that will be necessary for a coherent global response to climate change, however long that takes to organize: a “Green Fund” to help developing countries adapt to climate change and remove carbon from their economies; mechanisms to monitor and verify nations’ emissions-cutting efforts; a program to fight deforestation.

Given the global nature of climate change, a well-designed, binding, international agreement would allow countries to exploit the most efficient opportunities to cut carbon. But the prospect seems distant. It surely won’t happen until the United States tackles its own carbon emissions, preferably with legislation. But that is looking unlikely for the moment, too. Under those circumstances, Cancun established an important principle: Progress doesn’t have to be all or nothing, a binding international treaty or bust. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who leads the G20 in 2011, says he will press the group to make the fight against global warming a priority.

After the failure of last year’s climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, the climate change threats were again considered at the meetings which ended last week in Cancun, Mexico. Its results give a good indication of the sort of proposal for a new global treaty that will be put forward at the next climate change meeting in South Africa. It is urgent to reach international agreements. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which can cause huge floods and terrible droughts, along with several ecological imbalances made by men, are threatening the lives and livelihoods of the peoples of the world, especially the poorest and most vulnerable countries, as well as terrestrial and marine wildlife, too.

The environment and the material creation are supplied with all the potencies to produce all the necessities that we require, not only for humans but also for all species. Human society should not consider itself as the only enjoyer of all of God’s creation, and that no other creatures have a claim to it. Humanity is actually a minority species when we consider the many types of creatures that are sustained by the environment. If we manage the ecosystem properly, it will continue to produce everything we need. However, if people who have no genuine spiritual understanding start exploiting the Earth to take whatever they want in any way they want, then the supply of resources starts decreasing and the Earth, being a living organism, stops producing or responding to the needs of society as abundantly as it used to do. Then there will be shortages, droughts, and forest fires; subsequently the prices on commodities will increase. Gradually more people will become poor, and poverty and starvation will spread in parts of the world.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Environmentalism According to the Vedic View”

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