This Sunday’s “People’s Climate March” in New York City could be the biggest demonstration yet for action on climate change. The march is scheduled to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit, which begins two days later. Despite the advance billing and the official nature of the summit, the march is what matters. The U.N. Summit will be a clubby gathering of world leaders and their representatives who will try to figure out ways to reward polluters for pretending to fix a problem for which they’re responsible in the first place; a fiasco.
That’s not hyperbole, either. The summit is a little like a professional wrestling match: There appears to be action but it’s fake, and the winner is predetermined. The loser will be anyone who expects serious government movement dictating industry reductions in emissions.
There was a time when governments dealt with international threats. Now, as the columnist George Monbiot says, they “propose everything except the obvious solution — legislation.” Rather, they will talk, commission panels, invoke market-based solutions and even offer subsidies to industry, rather than say, for example, “Wealthy nations are reducing emissions globally by 8 to 10 percent per year, beginning now.” By Klein’s estimates, that’s precisely what it will take to avoid catastrophe and that is precisely what we are not going to see.
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