UN General Assembly Speeches Highlight Energy, Climate Concerns

united nations building new york photo

photo: Zane Edwards

This week is a big policy week in New York City, the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting is over at the Sheraton in midtown (check out Bonnie's pre-conference chat with Bill Clinton himself), and across town the United Nations General Assembly meeting is going on. Some of the climate and energy concerns cropping up in speeches are as follows (ENS):Nations Looking More Inward
Warning against a perceived trend against international collaborative action, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had this to say,

I see a danger of nations looking more inward, rather than towards a shared future. I see a danger of retreating from the progress we have made, particularly in the realm of development and more equitable sharing the fruits of global growth.

It takes leadership to speak out for justice; to act on climate change despite powerful voices against you; to stand against protectionism and make trade concessions, even in our our enlightened self-interest.

Biofuels Not Linked to Food Inflation
Perhaps predictably, Brazilian President Inácio Lula da Silva praised the potential of biofuels at reducing global dependency on fossil fuels. On the food versus fuel debate he had this to say,
Attempts to tie high food prices to the dissemination of biofuels do not stand up to an objective analysis of reality

Either We Love One Another or We All Perish
Incoming President of the General Assembly, Reverend Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, a Nicaraguan diplomat and Catholic priest, made some sobering remarks:
If we are to seize the opportunities, we must move beyond lamentations speech-making and statements of good intentions to take concrete action based on a firm resolve to replace the individualism and selfishness of the dominant culture with human solidarity as the golden rule that guides our behavior.

The world has reached a point at which we have no alternative. Either we love one another or we all perish; either we treat each other as brothers and sisters or we witness the beginning of the end of our human species.

It's not clear if D'Escoto was referring specifically to environmental issues, but from my perspective his remarks can certainly be taken that way. He added that the world is in danger of drowning in a "morass of maniacal, suicidal selfishness," which is causing problems such as lack of access to clean water, human trafficking, gender inequality and the build up of arms.

via :: ENS
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