We met to talk about CO2, and got a forest agreement –
Eric Worrall writes:
Now that its all over, the climate spinners are already hard at work, desperately trying to reframe the New York climate shambles as a win for the environment.
According to “The Australian”, a major Aussie daily newspaper;
“Yet this year’s summit seemed different. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brought together heads of state, NGOs and business leaders from major global companies such as Unilever, Coca-Cola and Asia Pulp & Paper to sign a declaration to safeguard the world’s forests. … The declaration is a commitment to act, not just to speak. Action on this scale will, though, require collaboration on an unprecedented level. A crucial phrase in the New York Declaration is: “We commit to doing our part to achieve the following outcomes in partnership.”
However, a declaration to save forests is truly an empty, painless piece of spin. Forests are already recovering worldwide, thanks to globalisation, cheap energy and economic development. In a mirror of our own economic history, large scale urbanisation of countries such as Brazil and Panama, driven by the creation of new jobs in the cities, is luring the younger generation to abandon subsistence farms hacked out of the jungle.
The abandoned farms, contrary to green propaganda, very quickly revert back to a state almost indistinguishable from the original virgin forest.
In fact, the only places where forests are not recovering, are places where perverse incentives are encouraging an increase in agriculture.
One of the biggest of these perverse incentives is biofuel subsidies, which are motivating global corporations to clear fell large plots of tropical forest, to make way for palm oil plantations.
Stepping back from the forest non issue, there is another aspect of the NY climate conference spin which I find disturbing – the continuous emphasis on the need for “widespread collaboration” and “unprecedented cooperation”. Every time I see a reference to how everyone has to allegedly strive to sacrifice their own interests, and work together for a common eco-goal, to save the world, I remember something the famous author Terry Pratchett once said;
“Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.”
Thankfully, for now at least, people appear to be following Pratchett’s sage advice.