The road to Cancún

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) held a seminar, The Road to Cancún – Climate politics, climate justice and the role of Sweden, at Kulturhuset, Stockholm, on November 11th.

Pär Holmgren, best known as a TV meteorologist, and member of the SSNC committee, said since we had human records from 130 years ago the warmest 10 have occured since 1998. Perspiration is more important than the warming. Most climate scientists are focused on their research. But it is a much broader issue. It has gone so far we have to do some geoengineering.

Svante Axelsson, Secretary General, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, made a PowerPoint presentation in English full of spelling mistakes. It left everyone wondering why some Swedes insist on holding seminars in English when they cannot master, let alone make themselves understood in the language. Axelsson said we can take some steps. But there are no expectations on a comprehensive agreement. He suggested introducing an aviation tax.

Lena Sommestad, Swedish minister of environment in 2002-2004, said that her predecessor Kjell Larsson showed that a small country like Sweden can make a difference. She suggested that we should listen more to developing countries. A few years ago all the proposals came from the north. It has changed.

Meena Raman, Third World Network, said it is bleak. As an activist she believes governments should be accountable. Raman criticised the EU for being like Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. Everyone says what about China. Russians say they are not historically responsible. There is also corruption in the north. But it is of a different kind in the companies. China is a scapegoat and a boogeyman. The USA cannot lead. They have to learn from China, said Raman, the radical voice from Malaysia.

Raman also said the minister of environment, refering to Sommestad, is a ”breathe of fresh air”. She spoke derogatory of Capitalists. We are not speaking of trade in tangible assets and there is a lack of derivatives. She attacked the speculation of financial markets. A journalist had criticised Bolivia, which has a democratically elected government. Bolivia is living well and not on economic devlopment. But to live well, do you need economical progress, Raman said.

Hans Corell, a Swedish lawyer and diplomat, and former UN legal councel, who was in the audience, gave his perspective. He views the climate challenge as a security issue. As a lawyer he was concerned Europe did not speak up when USA went the wrong way. He was most likely thinking of the ”war on terror” and the Patriot Act, which he has mentioned in one of our seminars.

Corell cannot understand how the world community can accept. It is important to instill the rule of law. Europe is an aging continent. Europe will plummet. It is as if Europe and USA is living in denial. India and China are the future. He finished with saying that empowerment of women is important.


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