Boondoggling

No not me, sadly 😦

RP has a nice article on and exceprting a piece by Richard Benedick on Climate Policy. One bit that struck me:

These UN mega-conferences have by now developed a predictable pattern. Considerable time is occupied by tedious problems of coordinating positions and tactics, both inside the huge national delegations and within blocs of countries such as the European Union and other regional or “like-minded” coalitions. There are the usual dire warnings– fully justifiable–of impending global catastrophe. There are trivial protocol debates and ritualistic ministerial speeches exhorting complicated and unrealistic actions. There are cultural diversions such as boat rides on the Rhine or dance performances in Marrakech. As the end nears, all-night negotiating sessions contribute to a sense of destiny. But despite the customary self-congratulatory finale, the results at Nairobi, as at preceding meetings, were embarrassingly meager. . . Part of the problem, as he sees it, is a short-term obsession with targets and timetables. The climate meetings, obsessively focused on short-term targets and timetables applying only to industrialized nations, have become trapped in a process that is unmanageable, inefficient, and impervious to serious negotiation of complex issues that have profound environmental, economic, and social implications extending over many decades into the future. . .

I added the bolding. I’ve never been to one of these things, but my impression is that another major part of the problem is that these conferences, whilst just about a waste of time, and certainly a waste of money and GHG, are nonetheless a fun boondoggle for a large pile of people. They are also a jolly useful substitute for any kind of action. Its also become pretty clear that they are never going to achieve anything, so no-one really gets blamed for them failing.

The thoughts re the comparison with Montreal are interesting, but I’m not sure how useful they are. Global warming is a much harder issue; ozone turned out to be fairly easy.

Uprising of the poodles?

If you haven’t been following UK politics recently, you can be excused, cos its been dull. The main story has been “when will Blair go” and “will he name a date”. My reading of this has been, why should he, when no-one has the guts to push him out. Yesterdays news was that the Sun (dubious low-iq semi-porn paper with a large readership and hence influential, hence seems to get more that its fair share of leaks) reported that the date would be next may; this was interpreted as being “given the wink” by Blair since he didn’t deny it. So far so dull and much the usual slimy politics.

But today: excitement: the Grauniad (non-dubious high-iq no-porn 😦 paper with smaller and less influential readership :-() reports: Blair faces crisis over resignations… Tony Blair today faced an implosion of his authority after seven government members resigned in protest at his refusal to publicly name a departure date. They are fairly minor people, true. Possibilities: they have summoned up the backbone to do what they think is right despite the consequences (unlikely). Or, they have seen which way the wind is blowing and want to show loyalty to the new regime (more like it).

Or am I too bitter and cynical in my old age?