...These people at the summit are not kind. We earn peanuts and they don’t even tip us. They think they are so important, they fly around the world having meetings and getting waited on, but they know nothing of how we live. I came here from Zimbabwe because my people are very desperate there. I live in a shack in Soweto now, one room with two children, no privacy, trying to earn money to send home. For months the government has talked about cleaning up the city for the summit, but when these people go home, everything will be back like it always was. They will still be rich, we will still be poor. It’s not right that they say they meet for our sake. It’s all for their benefit, not ours. - Rosemary, a Zimbabwean refugee waiting tables under the shining towers of Sandton, South Africa, where the conference was held.
Corporations hailed it a success (horray – no strings, we can carry on polluting), there was fine words from politicians (like Vice-President Blair banging on about climate change then promising to improve the people of Iraq’s climate by bombing them), plenty of NGO hand wringing and muttering in Victor Meldrew ‘I don’t believe it’ style disbelief and demonstrators being given a good kick in the privates so they don’t feel left out in the new era of global partnerships. SchNEWS has sifted through the final 65 page document with its eight key commitments and come up with summit of the highlights.
1. Dropping all renewable energy targets, because oil rich nations argued that until they figure a way of charging us for the sun and wind they aren't interested in bloody solar panels and windmills.
2. Promising to increase the number of people cut off from essential services like water and electricity by privatising services immediately.
3. Getting rid of poor people, or at least making them disappear out of view, with the use of very big fences surrounded by razor wire and men with machine guns (hey, just like the Earth Summit).
4. Making people re-use envelopes and dig ponds in their back gardens to preserve fish stocks.
5. Handing out free umbrellas and suntan lotion to help lessen the effects of climate change.
6. A pledge to stop species extinction through gene transfer and cloning of profitable animal and plant crops.
7. A free market monopoly in exchange for eternal debt and gratitude plus spontaneous culling of various groups as and when necessary all done in the best possible taste.
Love to SchNEWS for this great piece of work!