By: Andrés Jiménez
Biologist and project director
of NaturaCultura Foundation
Since the early 80´s, we have been aware
that the planet was warming up and that the cause was the emissions of certain
gasses that were increasing dramatically the greenhouse effect on our planet.
In 1992, as
a planetary response and following several meetings of smaller scale, the first
Earth Summit was organized. The Rio de Janeiro Summit set the bases to attack
the problem and an action plan was drawn to correct it. The first misstep for a
global action came a little later: The country that produced the most
contamination in the planet at that time, refused to sign it.
later, there was the Kyoto Summit and the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, an
agreement within the framework of the United Nations about the climatic
changes. This did not go into effect until 2005 and through the last decade,
the majority of the countries signed and ratified this treaty and its legal
obligations, even though the United States, again, decided not to ratify it.
The treaty expected the governments to reduce at least a 5% on average the
contaminating emissions between 2008 and 2012.
away from the dateline established in Kyoto, many intellectuals, scientists,
leaders and environmentalists had high hopes that the meeting of Copenhagen
could produce a document that would provide continuity to the Kyoto Protocol
and should define stronger actions that would lead us to reduce the emission of
gasses, particularly in the industrialized countries.
World's countries position about Kyoto Protocol
and ratified / Signed
but refused ratification. / No position taken.
beginning of this summit in Denmark was marked by a series of particularly
hopeful factors. The most encouraging sign was the global consciousness. If we
compare the impact that the previous meeting in Kyoto had with the impact of
this one in Copenhagen, among the public opinion and the leaders in attendance,
one can clearly see how global warming has taken day by day a major priority
within the global agenda.
days prior to its beginning the Summit suffered a setback because of a
publication that strived to create confusion on the origin of the problem.
was the role of this summit?
Copenhagen Summit not only should give continuity to the Kyoto Protocol, but
also promised to resolve a series of voids left by the Asiatic agreement. Among the most important was the
increase of actions to reduce the warming by 2°C, an accepted parameter for the
viability of the planet. There was
also supposed to be a clarification of the economic contribution from the
developed countries to the poorer ones, which are the ones that have suffered
the major effects of this planetary illness. Contributions that were calculated
to reach up to $20 billion. Together with these economic contributions another
subject to be discussed was the migration of patented technologies that would
help those countries to be able to reduce the environmental impact.
happened (or didn’t happen) in Copenhagen?
once more the challenges presented were larger than the virtues of the
politicians in charge. This time, the United States decided to get involved,
did not pursue getting closer to the European Union, finally pacting only with
China and India. Africa distanced itself from the process, several other
countries chose to remain silent and non-participatory while Chavez and his
boys took advantage of the summit to campaign, showcasing their total
environmental ignorance and disregard.
Demonstrators trying to remind the negotiators a very
United Nations limited itself to accepting an agreement of good will, which was
in no way binding.
this puts in evidence the reality that to reach consensus among 190 nations on
a subject that touches the blood and soul of industrialization, that is, the
use of fossil fuel and the non-stopping economic growth, is a really difficult
chore since no one wants to make sacrifices. Again, the big economic interest
prevailed and very little was done in favor of the health of the planet.
implications for Costa Rica are many. At some point in time this type of treaty was seen as an opportunistic
way to obtain some options for economic development by taking advantage of the
exchange of emissions, or the contamination permits that would have to be paid
by the developed countries to mitigate their effect.
implications of not taking concrete and actions that are much more ecologically
ambitious will truly be very serious for a tropical country that depends on its
agricultural and tourist sectors. If we continue on the path we are on now, the
impact of global warming at the level of draughts and floods could affect Costa
Rica in a drastic way.
has been declared by many a new disappointment and by others a new vision of
hope with the sights set on the Mexico 2010 meeting.
on the critical point at which the world convalesces, a good will agreement
such as this can be declared a total failure and a confirmation that individual
actions and not that of governments will punctuate the possibility of our
summit, the work done was not towards reducing emissions. What we saw, was how
the basis were being set to make of carbon a new global business.
In December of 2009, a few made the decision that the planet and its
citizens, will have to wait....