It’s not about saving the planet. It’s about protecting the prerogatives of special interest groups on the planet: the investments of big business in non-carbon emitting energy sources, in particular, nuclear power. Think France, China, Japan, and Finland. It’s not about protecting poor countries from the effects of climate change. It’s about engineering aid to poor countries, aid which will be used for things which are for the most part unrelated or flat out in contradiction to the principles of conservation, clean air, and clean water. It’s not about reducing carbon emissions per se. It’s about making Europe more competitive from an economic point of view vis-à-vis countries like the United States and China whose economies are more energy-intensive and depend more on cheap energy.
The environmental movement used to be about the environment. It has become little more than a tool in the hands of political parties, third-world demagogues who dominate the politics of aid, and big business which stands to reap profits from regulation that favors sources of energy they are heavily invested in.
I disagree with James Hansen, the famous scientist and environmentalist, who wants the Copenhagen summit to fail. Let it succeed, in the sense that these summits succeed. But let’s be clear: summits like this one provide window-dressing to complex geopolitical negotiations the true ends of which have little to do with the environment.