The 2009 UN Climate Change conference – better know as COP 15 – ended with a surprise. Many expected the conference to fail, but even the notorious naysayer was staggered by its apparent collapse. Though I can not hide my satisfaction about COP-15s triumphal disgrace, the “outcome” of the conference was a disaster for the planet. Basically, there’s no agreement on any limitation of CO2 emissions, no roadmap how to support each other to combat climate change nor even the will, to achieve any kind of binding agreement in the new future. To say, we don’t want the global average temperature to rise by more than 2 degree until 2100 won’t bother the climate at all. Considering, that most states and scientist were frankly aware of the dimension of the threat of global warming before the summit, the result is the more embarrassing. It’s like Spock asking “Captain Kirk, our starship is about to crash into that huge rocky planet in front of us. Do you want me to slow down and change direction?” And Captain Kirk answering “Thank you for that information. Please, open another bottle of wine.”
So who has lost? Most obviously, the victims of climate change – that is future generations, third world countries, peace – are the main losers. But as I will point out later, there’s still hope for them. However, the idea that the climate crisis can be controlled on a governmental level has shown to be false. Not only that the so called political leaders had been unwilling and incapable to seriously fight against global warming and climate justice, the problem was way too complex and the positions to diverse to be solved by one huge summit. This fact challenge the role of the United Nations to host a framework in the fight against the climate catastrophe. If the UN fail to develop new forms of global governance, there historical doom is inevitable. Moreover, both the United States of America and the European Union passed up a chance to take a leading role in the global struggle against global warming. Consequently, they missed a chance to increase political, international influence and to open new markets. As a result, the saving of the planet will take place without governments, or it won’t take place at all.
The COP-15 conference showed clearly, that the support of the civil society wasn’t welcome. The number of NGO delegates has been reduced from day to day and the peaceful demonstrations faced with police violence. On the other hand, the politicians and delegates who felt to be in charge, failed as mentioned above. As a result, we – the civil society - have to claim leadership. It’s our last change. We have to build local communities to fight against global warming. We have to inspire and empower each other to find creative and working solutions, we have to exercise non-violant disobedience to stop the building of new coal-power stations, highways etc. and we have to organise climate protection bottom-up. If we lead the turn of our carbon addict society into a zero-emission society, our elected representatives will follow.