Posted by sanityinjection on December 7, 2009
hy-poc-ri-sy /hɪˈpɒkrəsi [hi-pok-ruh-see]
–noun, plural -sies.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. (Thanks to dictionary.com)
And so we have the theme for the international climate summit taking place this week in the Danish city of Copenhagen. You may recall that this is supposed to be the moment when all the world’s countries agree to abide by severe restrictions on carbon emissions in order to save the world from its complete and imminent destruction at the hands of ManBearPig, er, I mean global warming. Of course, anyone who has been following the news leading up to the conference knows that major nations have already refused to do anything of the kind, so much like its infamous predecessor, the Kyoto treaty, the Copenhagen conference has failed even before it began.
Nevertheless, you might think the event might at least have some propaganda value in showing all the world’s leaders being green and earth-friendly for a week. Right? Wrong. Consider the following:
- “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand. We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden…We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars.” – Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen’s biggest limousine company
- “The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers…According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants’ travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of “carbon dioxide equivalent”, equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough.” – Andrew Gilligan, The Telegraph
- “That is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by more than 60 of the world’s smaller countries in an entire year — combined.” – Charles Hurt, New York Post
The great irony of Copenhagen is that any agreement (most likely, an “interim statement” full of sound and fury and signifying nothing) could be achieved through the modern technology of teleconferencing, or simply handled through the UN in New York where all nations are already represented. Either way the carbon footprint would be exponentially lower. But surely, the value of having climate activists, world leaders, and self-righteous celebrities all coming together to backslap each other in front of the cameras justifies generating enough carbon to sink an island nation – doesn’t it?
And therein lies the point. While we are being told that everyone is going to have to make changes in order to fight global warming, the truth is that it will only be us normal folk who will actually have to sacrifice anything, while our wealthy celebrity betters continue to jetset around the world drumming up “publicity for the cause”. Their true creed is not that all emissions must be lowered, but rather that they get to decide who is worthy of permission to emit. And by their criteria, celebrity TV appearances are much more worthy than say, jobs for working families or being able to commute to those jobs.
Thus, I return you to the definition at the beginning of this post.