Scientists from around the world meeting at a climate change summit to discuss the long-term implications of the increase in greenhouse gases.
Tony Blair announced that the conference "big questions". One of them should probably be "How does he have the balls to pretend that the UK will lead the way when we haven't even kept to our own targets for the reduction of emissions?"
Margaret Beckett, (Environment Secretary) is quick to point out that we have lived up to the conditions of Kyoto (which are much lower than those set out by the UK Government);
"One of the most important lessons Britain can spread to the rest of the world, and one of the reasons why we do bang the drum about this, is because we have been able to show that we can cut our emissions of greenhouse gases substantially and yet grow our economy. That is the most important thing, particularly for the poorest countries in the world. We can show you can grow your economy and cut your emissions."
No mention then of the fact that it is the world's richest country which produces most of the worlds pollution, and they have no intention of reducing their emissions. Now that Russia has signed Kyoto, the US is really out on its own - but that never bothers them.
Negotiations at the UN's World Conference on Disaster Reduction (organised in response to the Indian Ocean tsunamis which caused more than 160,000 deaths) stalled when the US (along with Australia, Canada) demanded that references to climate change as a cause of natural calamities be removed from the final document. The EU are pushing for the inclusion of these man-made problems.
The IPCC concluded in 2001 that there "is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities", and Vicky Pope (head of the Met Office's climate prediction programme) advises; "Even the most conservative predictions will give us substantial climate changes by the end of the century". While the WWF estimates that polar bears (and some seal species) could be extinct within 20 years because of global warming.
Meanwhile, our own little capitalist gits (the CBI) are busy scaremongering that the reduction of emissions will harm the UK economy (but not as much as the possible climate changes!)
Adrian Wilkes (The Environmental Industries Commission chairman) has confirmed that Sir Digby Jones (the CBI's director general) had been forced to admit to parliament's environmental audit committee's current inquiry into climate change that he could not name a single company that had relocated abroad as a consequence of environmental regulations.
The CBI replied by warning that they may do in future "Companies will go abroad if extra costs are imposed here that are not imposed abroad."
Companies like - Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell?
The world's largest publicly quoted oil and gas firm, Exxon Mobil (Esso) announced profits of £13billion for 2004 - the highest profits in the company's history (and roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Luxembourg or Guatemala). Coincidentally, one of the largest polluters, Exxon Mobil is a supporter of anti-climate change propaganda (http://www.campaignexxonmobil.org/ , http://www.stopesso.org/). BP is expected to report profits of £9bn, and Shell earned £9.4bn in 2004 (£1m an hour or 1% of Britain's GDP).
Scientists have discovered a lovely new threat to mankind - which will wipe out coral and many species of fish and other sea life. The increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the air (caused by the burning of fossil fuels) is not only causing climate change, it is making the oceans more acidic. This in turn kills the marine life that helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Scientists estimate that about half the 800 billion tonnes of CO2 put into the atmosphere by humans since the start of the industrial revolution has been soaked up by the sea. Now it looks like we have pushed it too far.
So let's, get the other big kids to play too - before it's too late. We could also impose trade sanctions on companies and countries that don't control pollution, and help those that genuinely can't afford to. Spend the money we had set aside for weapons, and spend it on figuring out long-term solutions to poverty and environmental damage. In particular, tax all of those who profit from our situation getting worse. There's no point in trying to reason with them, and another conference will not really help. Greed is a powerful master. If you want their attention, you have to threaten their profits.