Saturday, December 11, 2010

ARE WE THERE YET? (Moving Beyond Cancún)


Unless you live in a fool's paradise such as the US Congress or the tourist beaches of Cancún, the basic reality in a highly populated world is that there are limits -- limits to deficit spending of either the earth's or the economy's capital.

The UN meetings in Cancún did manage to end on a mildly hopeful note by gaining agreements on some small steps and putting off the hard stuff until the future. Commenting on the UN meetings Andrew Revkin says,
"What a difference a year makes. Climate talks ended in Copenhagen one year ago in raucous, then deflated, division, with the resulting accord noted, but not formally embraced, by the nearly 200 countries aiming to make good on an 18-year-old pledge under the first climate treaty to limit dangerous human-driven warming.

In Cancún, perhaps because the pressure was off to “seal the deal,” nearly all of the world’s nations rallied late Friday night around Mexico’s foreign secretary, Patricia Espinosa, and the text she offered as a rough template for an eventual global climate agreement."

Grist's Kate Shepard says of the newly hopeful tone of agreement, "It's Not Perfect But It's a Deal."

At the moment, at least, these are positive small steps in a larger playing field that has, unfortunately, looked pretty grim. The reason is that we are still deficit-spending our future.

Bill McKibben lays out why There's No Longer A Happy Ending at Cancún.

William D. Cohan lays out The Bankrupt Bargain on Taxes in the U.S.

David Harvey lays out Why We Are Stuck in the world.

Bottom line is that the ecology and the economy are running on separate but parallel unsustainable tracks toward what seems like a wall. Perhaps, if we can overcome our fear of the dark, there's a tunnel passage that is a transition toward a post-fossil-fueled future. But, we must first embrace a simple truth...


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