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Saturday, July 11, 2009
Ban Ki Moon - 2050 Goals
Image: © 2009 Copenhagen Climate Council / Peter Sorensen

Ban Ki-moon Says Words Are Not Enough For Climate Change

L'AQUILA, ITALY - World Leaders met this week in L'Aquila, Italy to discuss Climate Change pollution reduction goals and come up with an agreement on a worldwide target for 2050. Some of the results of this week's meetings were that on Wednesday, the G-8 industrialized nations all agreed to an 80% emissions reduction target by 2050, which in itself was a significant step. Also, on Thursday, the 17 major industrialized countries who make up 80% of the world's pollution emissions, agreed to curtail the rise in average global Earth temperatures to no more that 2C, but no agreed targets were set which would achieve this.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (seen in a May 24th photo from the Copenhagen Climate Council meeting) addressed the leaders in Italy this week and indicated that he believed the world's nations were not moving swiftly enough to meet the pure science of the disaster that is unfolding on the Planet. He said that the impact of global pollution is something that needs to be addressed with mid-term reduction targets for the year 2020, and without these it was unlikely that the long-term ones would be met. He said the pure science behind climate change is what was being overlooked.

US President Barack Obama also took a leadership position in Italy during the week. His efforts to work the issues objectively and to bring agreement amongst world leaders made him one of the men of the moment in L'Aquila. In fact, all of the G-8 leaders should be commended for their support of the 80% reduction goal that they set for 2050. Additionally, the G-5 countries, made up of Brazil, India, China, Mexico, and South Africa are starting to make progress and see that their future economy is one that will need to be environmentally balanced - but there is still so much work to do.

From the perspective of the editors at theirEarth, the position that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon takes only makes sense, and it is clear that the rapidly melting ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic will cause far more economic damage than any developed or developing country could ever hope to profit from by not supporting a sensible path towards the preservation of humanity and the Planet. Ban Ki-moon's concern that 2020 targets are just as important as 2050 ones is competely valid.

If we went back to the year 1900, when Planet Earth was in much better shape, and we looked at our ancestors from that time, we would find people who were correct in believing that there was an endless future. In those days we consumed far less of the Planet's resources, and our behaviour was therefore more sustainable. The question at this very moment is whether humanity chooses a 'light the candle - let it burn out approach', or decides to find another path. If we look at the methods employed today in the economy, greed outweighs both the Planet and its future generations. This is really what has to move back to an equilibrium, and a 50/50 balance of thinking about others and ourselves.

For those individuals who use the words 'developing economy' as a basis for doing nothing on Climate Change, the argument is futile because the word 'developing' is one that is relative to time, and right now without worldwide short-term pollution reduction goals for 2020 firmly agreed upon, the risk remains extremely high that our own children's long-term futures, and perhaps even our own futures, are not assured in many parts of the Planet.

For those world leaders like Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama who are taking active steps towards transitioning the global economy towards a sustainable future, more support is needed from the general population for their efforts. The negative politics, short-term economics, and personal greed need to better align with the futures of those who walk at the 1 metre level on their two feet, standing upright, and whose faces look up to us for real leadership.

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