Who can be trusted with our planet? Reflections on a week in climate politics

Tim Hayward

This past week I was taking an interest in events unfolding in Warsaw, Edinburgh and Yale.  Each in its way revealed something about the divisions in global politics of the environment.

In Warsaw at the COP19 Climate Talks – before they eventually reached an agreement of sorts – we witnessed a mass walk out by Southern participants, environmental and development groups, young people, trade unions, social movements, indigenous peoples, farmers organisations and women’s groups.  In the face of the seriousness and urgency of climate change, some of the governments represented seemed determined to be a national embarrassment; but a wider collectivity of nations could be regarded as a global shame.  Not only was there lack of progress on environmental justice in the distribution of burdens of climate change between rich and poor, but several developed countries reneged on their commitments to cut emissions, and frictions were exacerbated by…

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