Copenhagen leaves rich nations untouched

Climate talks still stuck on key issues: IndiaNobody is ever responsible for anything, it seems, after Copenhagen. The rich countries, primary contributors to this mess, have got away scott free. It’s as if we don’t live on the same planet anymore. The most disturbing aspect of this is the historic reflection it casts once more.

From the fifteenth century onwards, colonizers have sailed to other countries and used technological and other advantages to plunder them. The amassed riches helped the colonizers develop.

The landscape after Copenhagen is not that different-we haven’t even caused the problem.

But we will be so severely harmed by climate change, that economic losses and adaptation will suck our funds dry. In essence, the self-preservation by the developed world is robbing countries like India of the possibility of becoming a wealthy, equitable country.

And as for Island nations, they don’t stand much chance of survival at all. Copenhagen tells us how little consensus there is on not repeating the darker parts of history.

Now what to do?

Now that we have seen how little world leaders, including the otherwise dynamic Barack Obama, are able to do for burning issues, we have to think of new strategies to combat global climate change.

It is hardly a simple task, and most of us are likely mentally burned out after Copenhagen’s spectacular failure. So, what is it we can do? As people living in India, we already have the opportunity of starting with our cities.

I believe that cities have to show the way, because the wealthy amongst us are important energy and water guzzlers, and we stand to be impacted significantly.

Many cities have, or are in the process of creating, climate action plans. Typically, such plans are made by “specialists”, and may not have included the citizens at large in it. That’s why, for everyone who cares, take a look at the National Action Plan on Climate Change, learn about your own local plan and if there isn’t one, help set up a simple one.

There is too little time left for us to underestimate our own power.