Politicians from around the world last week gave up any attempt to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.
The United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa, were billed as the last chance to agree a new treaty for reducing carbon emissions. The current Kyoto protocol expires next year.
But instead of a treaty they agreed a “roadmap”. This is a plan to agree a treaty by 2015 and implement it by 2020.
That means eight more years of rising carbon emissions. And emissions would have to peak long before then if we are to avert uncontrollable global warming.
Since the Durban talks Canada’s government has announced it will formally withdraw from Kyoto. This is to avoid endangering its lucrative and environmentally devastating oil industry. Russia and Japan are expected to follow suit.
The Kyoto agreement targets were always weak and full of loopholes. And they did not apply to the biggest polluters in the world. Now even that is too much.
Politicians know that climate change is a deadly threat. But to reduce emissions would mean taking on the capitalists whose interests they represent.
That’s why climate talks fail to protect the environment—but succeed at protecting big business.