Climate Change Summit in Mexico: Political Will Needed
The energy and environment ministers of the G8 countries plus China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and more (the "top 20 polluters", to use the BBC's words) are meeting for two days in Mexico to continue what they started at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland last year. On the agenda: 1) Economic challenges of tackling climate change, 2) alternative low-carbon technologies, 3) level of investment from public and private sectors and 4) "road map" for a low-carbon future.
The organisers are hoping the 20 countries attending the event will agree that action to stop climate change is economically viable, that technologies already exist to limit carbon dioxide emissions and that there is investment available for countries to pay for this technology.
I think that's been known for a while, and ask anybody who's seriously looking at the problem and you'll be told that the costs of adaptation to climate change are much bigger than those of prevention/mitigation. Now is time for action, nothing else will do. So what can we expect from this summit?
Claude Mandil, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that he is not optimistic that there is enough political will to deliver the necessary support, and that there was "a huge gap between words and deeds". Once again, lack of political will is a major problem. Governments are huge players, and when they want to, they can make things move really fast (f.ex. the Apollo project). This is just one more example of why it's important to create popular awareness of the problems and solutions in the general public (like what Al Gore is doing, but also what we try to do along with other websites like WorldChanging and Grist). Without that, the politicians (of any party) won't dare do much even if they would personally like to because it could cost them at elections.