Maldives Prez Says Stopping Climate Change Isn't About Hugging Trees


Mohamed Nasheed speaking during COP15, photo: Matthew McDermott.

I'm only going to feign momentary offense at Maldives' President Mohamed Nasheed, because I happen to think there's nothing wrong with hugging a tree every now and then... At a climate change seminar in Helsinki, Finland Nasheed said that apart from environmental concerns there are very good reasons that we have to collectively act on climate change, and need to reframe the discussion ahead of COP16 in Mexico at the end of the year:The Economic Times reports that Nasheed said that the security, economic and human rights aspects of climate change need to be brought more to the fore. Additionally a price tag needed to be placed on "the extent to which we destroy the atmosphere, the extent to which we pollute the atmosphere."

Nasheed also emphasized that the time for pointing fingers at one another was over, with a need to build more trust between developed and developing countries.

It Wasn't Because of Too Much Tree Hugging That COP15 Failed
As usual, Nasheed is right on the money in intent--there is indeed much more to climate change that the strictly environmental impacts. However, I'm not sure the non-environmental aspects of climate change weren't forcefully put forward in the run-up to last year's climate summit in Copenhagen. Plenty of military officials, economists and human rights organizations laid out, over and over, the potential impacts of a warming planet.

It wasn't because there was too much emphasis on hippy-dippy let's all roll in the grass and hug trees that the outcome of COP15 fell well short of the scientific recommendation. I'd argue that at least partially it was the exact opposite. Among developed nations and the larger developing nations everyone was looking out for their own interests first and foremost and those of the people to be worst affected only secondarily or even farther down someplace. Perhaps a little bit more focus on universal compassion, for both the natural world as a whole and for our fellow human beings, might have helped.

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