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SJ 4.2 and the Planet Wide Environmental Challenges

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

This blog contribution turns out to be playful and serious at the same time. It aims at highlighting the responsibilities of institutions as the Society of Jesus, the Ignatian Family and the Roman Catholic Church – and not only these – in the midst of the planet wide environmental challenges. It attempts to offer a “network” frame to better understand these responsibilities. I am not sure it will work, but I surely do hope so, when I continue to hear the message heralded by the media that we should not really expect much from COP16.

There is fascination when one looks at the phenomenon of the World Wide Web – it represents a complex network in full evolution. That is the reason why expressions as Web 2.0 or even Web 3.0 are used. It struck me that I could do something similar with regard to the Society of Jesus, so as to sketch the complex network it represents. And while doing so, I was also struck how this network representation provides us with a powerful tool to discern how to serve the world and God’s people, precisely in the midst of the planet wide environmental crisis.

SJ 1.0 represents, so to say, the Jesuits as individuals. They are people who have made a particular choice in their lives and who have gone through a process of formation and spiritual growth, in which discernment takes an important place. Jesuits share the engagement with the Spiritual Exercises and they belong to an organisation ruled by Constitutions.

Jesuits are also organized in provinces. It is their primary network – their Provincial knows each one of them and assigns missions. We could call this network:SJ 2.0. In their missions, assigned to them by their provincials,Jesuits have always had collaborators and friends, but recently they have become more aware that these really share in their missions and take responsibilities in these, also at the level of discerning and deciding how these missions are best articulated. This is, so to say, SJ 2.1. Of course, this leads to reflections on SJ 1.1: how does the individual Jesuit relate to non-Jesuit collaborators and friends?

Recently, Jesuits have become more deeply aware of regional networking, precisely because they experience differences at that level: there are Indian Jesuits, European Jesuits, US Jesuits, Latin American Jesuits, African Jesuits, etc. There is a level of identity and mission that reflects these regions, and it is given shape in conferences of provincials. This level could be called SJ 3.0, and we have become aware of significant and interesting, challenging, differences in our perceptions of the world. Of course, at this level the relationships with collaborators arise in new ways, that are often culturally determined: meet SJ 3.1.

And then, there is one more level, and it is crucial: SJ 4.0, the universal, planet wide Society of Jesus. Jesuits have that sense that they have places to feel at home all over the world – they belong to and feel part of a really big organisation, truly transnational. Here we find a solidarity and a loyalty that areborn deep in the personal experiences at level SJ 1.0 and that find concrete expressions at levels SJ 2.0 and SJ 3.0. And again, Jesuits are learning how important it is to change the o in 1, also at level 4: SJ 4.1 is emerging as a solid reality.

In the perspective of Ignatius Loyola, SJ 4.0 receives great importance. He enshrines this level of network in the so-called fourth vow of obedience to the Pope concerning the missions. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope is the person in charge of the broadest perspective, of a universal view on the world. We could, therefore, – and even if Popes are human beings and may not always be capable of this broad view – explain the fourth vow and SJ 4.0 as follows: whatever concrete mission Jesuits are involved in, they are invited to heed the universal perspective, to become aware that in the very concreteness of their experiences and actions the larger vision of God over the universe is at work and at stake.

Networks SJ 4.0 and SJ 4.1 strike me as particularly important with regard to planet wide environmental challenges. The Society of Jesus and the Ignatian Family (indicating the Jesuits and their collaborators and friends … the expression may not be the best, but I use it for lack of better) are organized so as to have a universal and planet wide perspective and scope of action, even and precisely when they are committed locally and concretely. They enjoy the resources and possibilities of an organisation that can address worldwide challenges, such as climate change. Moreover, they can take into account the differences at levels 3, 2 and 1, in a spirit of creative collaboration in solidarity. Jesuits and collaborators in various parts of the world, in the rich countries, in the emerging countries, in the developping countries, in those countries and places that already suffer the consequences of climate change, belong to one body that exists in a profound solidarity at level 4.

One could even be tempted to introduce SJ 4.2: the universal Society of Jesus and the universal Ignatian Family are becoming aware of their relationship to the planet, to nature, to creatures of all kind, alive or not. SJ 4.2 means that Jesuits, collaborators and friends begin to act together with nature, accepting creatures as partners in the mission of creation. The fourth vow, the vow of universality, concerns not only human beings, but the whole spectrum of creatures. The challenge is to take into account, in concrete missions, the existence of these creatures, to act out of the awareness that our lives depend upon them and are lived in solidarity with them. The alliance that expresses our belonging to the same creation becomes the scope of the word “universal”. The existence of SJ 4.2, of course, invites us also to think of SJ 1.2, SJ 2.2 and SJ 3.2. We are learning to ask the question: what does our alliance with nature and with the planet mean at personal, provincial, regional and planet wide perspective. Our network is becoming richer and fuller, but also more demanding.

SJ 4.2 opens up a very interesting perspective on planet wide challenges and on the climate change crisis. It reveals a hitherto unsuspected mission and opportunity, an expression of what it means to belong to the Society of Jesus or to the Ignatian Family.

Is it necessary to say that I suspect the existence of RCC 4.2, where RCC stands for Roman Catholic Church? And why should we think that RCC is the last step? But, at least, I would suggest to take seriously both SJ 4.2 and RCC 4.2.

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COP16: Context and Hopes

November 28, 2010 2 comments

I would like to highlight some of the important elements of the context, in which COP16 takes place. I will, in a second move, formulate some of the hopes one can cherish at this moment. (1) The health bulletin of our planet and the threats to human and planetary life have worsened: we continue to deplete – and at an accelerated pace – the natural resources of our planet; CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere – the consequence of our lifestyles – are still increasing and heating up of the planet rapidly; biodiversity is suffering. (2) There is much less public interest with regard to the global environmental crisis than was the case at COP15 in Copenhagen. (3) From a political perspective, matters don’t seem to have improved. In my own country, rather than discussing the urgent matters at hand, the media focus on the quarrel between some of our ministers: who will take the pride to head the Belgian delegation at Cancún? Such discussions go on, while we now know that Belgium has one of the worst ecological footprints in the world. In the USA, the hope felt when Obama was elected, has now dissipated again. We cannot, therefore, expect serious moves from one of the main actors. Meanwhile, the so-called emerging countries (such as China, India, Russia and Brasil) are becoming more important, not only because they claim an ever growing share of the natural resources for their own development, but also because they begin to define their own environmental policies and because their voice at the international conference tables becomes more important. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily good news for the developping countries and the poor countries: they continue to be exploited for their resources and do not really acquire the necessary means and tools to adapt to global climate change. (4) There is growing awareness of the seriousness and urgency of the situation, as well as of the necessity of adaptation. This is exemplified by the viewpoint of a prestigious weekly as The Economist in its issue of Nov 27 to Dec 3, as well as in its The World in 2011. But it is painful to see that this growing awareness is often conceived of in the perspective of economic growth as we understand it today: those, who have the resources, will be able to adapt; adaptation will mainly result from private action, although public action will be necessary also; there may be some help for the poor, but, and I quote what I consider to be a highly cynical remark, “unfortunately, such adaptation has always meant large numbers of deaths”. There seems to be little understanding of the fact that the resources to adapt are limited. Analyses as the ecological footprint, show that these resources will, in the end, be available only to a very limited number of privileged people. I think, as I expressed it in another blog contribution, that there are serious shortcomings in this kind of approach, but it is still the way of thinking of many of us. (5) Scientific research on the complex reality of climate change as well as on historical precedents, is unfolding at a rapid pace, and it points to the seriousness of the situation. Moreover, the attacks on the integrity of climate scientists have been proven unfair, and one can only regret the time and energy that have been lost in these fights although the painful experiences have also made scientists more aware of the need to communicate clearly and efficiently their findings and insights. (6) There is a growing awareness of the role churches and religions can play, as is shown in the commitment of the World Council of Churches. Unfortunately, not very much has been done in fact and there is still a long way to go on the level of mobilizing people and energies. This is particularly true for the Roman Catholic Church.

In this context arise new hopes. (1) It is very well possible that the lesser political profile of COP16 (as compared to COP15) will provide a direct context, in which it is more easy to reach the international agreements that are more necessary than ever. Moreover, the more important role played by the emerging countries may open new and creative avenues towards international collaboration and good governance. A main concern remains the question who will be advocating the case for the poor countries and countries in development. (2) Scientists are more than before in a position to play a prophetic role: their science is improving rapidly, they have learned to communicate better, and they also increasingly advocate for a voice that is insufficiently present at the table of negotiations, the voice of nature – this is a point clearly made by Michel Serres in his Le temps des crises. Indeed, all too often the voice of nature is not heard and, therefore, natural limits and constraints are insufficiently taken into account when we design economic and political approaches to the crisis. (3) The voice of young people in a context in which they are globally connected through the wordwide web, is becoming more important. They are a force to change mentalities and interpretations of the world and realities of the planet. This is also true of the voice of the indigenous people: their approaches to nature offer perspectives that can enrich the ways in which we situate ourselves in our world. (4) There is a need to re-think our economic models. The articles in The Economist show, I think, that there is a growing awareness of the seriousness of the crisis, but also that new economic models have to be developed, in which  sustainability, ecological footprint and limits are taken into account, and in which also the poorest of the people on our planet have a voice. A continuing emphasis on mitigation is necessary, although some think that the time for mitigation has passed by. Indeed, a one-sided emphasis on adaptation may wel be at risk to forget what mitigation states clearly: there are lifestyles that are responsible for this crisis and that will continue to aggravate it. The accent on mitigation helps us to pay attention to lifestyles that are not without consequences on the lives of the poor and on nature and the life of the planet.  (5) There is opportunity for religions and churches to speak with clear voice and to become more aware of the constructive and creative role they can play, particularly when they find ways to collaborate. For Christians, and particularly for Roman Catholics who belong to a well organised international network, the task is not only an ethical one about social and international justice. It also entails a re-thinking of theologies and worldviews in the form of a creation theology that is capable of viewing the world and the universe as a connected whole in space and time, of which human beings form a special part, as they are capable, as a part of creation, to voice creation’s self-reflection and spiritual search. Moreover, structurally speaking, as a complex international organisation with a presence at levels of political advocacy, media, research, education and in the field, the Roman Catholic Church offers opportunities to efficiently address a crisis at an international level.

After Copenhaguen

December 22, 2009 1 comment

Back in Brussels I have decide to read the Copenhagen Accord and many of the commentaries from the news and media.  I can’t say that the results were what we expected, but that is not so strange.  If you have followed this blog or any of the other accounts from different sources, you’ve surely noticed that the negotiations were never very clear from the start.  We never had a clear idea about where the negotiations were going, and we’ve tried to transmit this.  Although I think we were hoping for something along the lines of Kyoto or Bali.  Time will allow us to further analyze this in more detail.  For now, I propose some reflections, which is what we can offer at this time.  First the reaction groups:

They don’t want to do anything.  This has been the great accusation from many of the countries and journalists.  In the end, the developed countries refuse to validate the scientific data.  But by their non-action, their refusal to formalize any agreement, they are only legitimizing our scepticism.  In the end, the developed counties don’t want to act because of the threats this presents to their economies and their positions of dominance.

A lost opportunity.  After two years of hard work and negotiating, of preparation and organization, we have nothing.  There has been no progress.  The Agreement is not legally binding.  It speaks of the objective to reduce global warming to under 2º C, but it does not propose by when or under what conditions.  Nor does it specify the limit of greenhouse gas emissions.  It only states: ‘As soon as possible’, which is not very precise.  Developed countries will communicate their goals toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to the Convention Secretary by January 31.  The document even has the last three sections left blank, with charts meant ‘to be filled-in’.  Developing countries will communicate their goals every two years, on a voluntary basis.  There will be an international evaluation of these goals, but there will be no process of real ‘verification’.  The sovereignty of the countries remains above all compromise.

A step forward. Given the difficulties of establishing an ambitious and legally binding agreement, there has been some progress.  There is a financial agreement for the years 2010 and 2012 of 10 billion dollars.  This is for the mitigation and adaptation of climate changes in under-developed countries.  Another ambitious goal is to mobilize 100 billion dollars annually by 2020.  An impressive amount of money.  Many doubts remain:  How will this fund be controlled?  And will this funding be new money or will it be recycled from what there actually is?

There is progress in a good direction. For those that defend this position, especially the leaders of the United States and other developed countries; the agreement proves that there is political will to face these problems.  They see the need to move forward in this regard.  The presence of so many heads of State is proof that there is a desire to move forward.  The rest of the goals will eventually fall into place.

Secondly, some brief reflections:

The expectations were very high.  Much ground was gained in the negotiations.  Countries were able to specify their positions, goals and economic possibilities.  The plan was very ambitious.  In the end, the reduction of greenhouse gases called for a major shift in textile industries and in the economic activity.  It is not that all the smokes stacks must be immediately stopped-up and closed or there be some sort of tax.  Millions of jobs are at stake and must be considered, as well as industrial production and competitive markets.  In theory these areas had been talked about before, but as we’ve seen they were not really, or not as they should have. There did not seem to be a convincing discernment regarding these issues.

The role of science. All together, the sciences come out ahead.  There is still scientific scepticism, but there has been progress.  The panel of scientists was able to clarify areas of certainty, areas of much probability, and areas of limited probability.  The environmental threat is there, and it is probably more serious that it seemed before.  The role of scientists will be even greater in the future.

The weakness of the United Nations. As the negotiations progressed, the presence of the UN became more and more diluted.  The UN is based on a principle of equality in representation (except in the Security Council where only five countries have a vote), which is why there were endless sessions at the Convention.  All representatives had a voice at one time or another.  The UN tried to maintain this aspect of its identity.  But at Copenhagen the United States and China tipped the balance and, with the help of other countries, broke down the proceedings.  The document was approved by all but five countries, which helped to stabilize the Conference.  But the UN stood on weak ground.  Any future global initiative will have to re-enforce this institution.

Deep convictions for profound change. We are victims of our time, and the media and mass communications condition our time.  Things must happen now in order to advance.  But other entities do not always move so fast, such as the economy or politics.  Copenhagen is proposing a profound change of global perspective.  We’re not talking about some technical adjustments.  Instead, humanity must be willing to follow some rules.  For some, these will present challenges, for others, limitations.  But for the vast majority, this is the future.  This is a great challenge to all, one that demands the willpower of many.  In this sense, we believers have to help in any way that we can.  We must recognize that God, who is our Creator, sustains the world, and that we look for the reconciliation of all creation and all beings with the Creator.  We know that this reconciliation will be complete only in the Creator.  This is the great mission in our call to be Christians, not to say that there is much to be done, but to participate more fully.  Above all, together, with all of those who make it possible each and every day, we must maintain hope.

Tiempo de balance

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

De vuelta en Bruselas, he dedicado el día de hoy a leer el Acuerdo de Copenhague y muchos de los comentarios aparecidos en la prensa. El resultado no puedo decir que era el esperado, sinceramente no era esto lo que se esperaba, pero no es tan extraño. Si han seguido este blog, y otras muchas informaciones, por supuesto, habrán visto que las negociaciones nunca consiguieron tener una dirección clara. Nunca tuvimos una percepción clara de adónde se estaba caminando, así lo intentamos transmitir, aunque creo que todos manteníamos la esperanza de que se avanzaría en la línea de Kioto y la hoja de ruta establecida en Bali. El tiempo permitirá hacer análisis más detallados; propongo algunas reflexiones, sueltas, creo que es lo que podemos ofrecer ahora. Primero los grupos de reacciones:

No quieren hacer nada. Esta ha sido la gran acusación de algunos países, y de muchos comentaristas. Los países desarrollados, en el fondo, niegan validez a los datos científicos. Aunque no lo hagan formalmente al no comprometerse, al no actuar de una manera decidida, de hecho están legitimando a los escépticos. Los países desarrollados, en el fondo no quieren actuar porque ven amenazadas sus economías y sus posiciones de dominio.

Una oportunidad perdida. Después de años de esfuerzo, de negociaciones, de hojas de ruta… al final para nada. No se ha avanzado en nada. El acuerdo no es legalmente vinculante. Recoge el objetivo de limitar el calentamiento planetario por debajo de 2º pero no propone para cuándo, ni con base en qué momento. Tampoco indica cuándo las emisiones deberían tocar techo, “lo antes posible” dice, lo que no es muy preciso. Los países desarrollados comunicarán sus objetivos de reducción de emisiones para 2020 a la Secretaría de la Convención antes del 31 de enero. De hecho el documento tiene las tres últimas en blanco con unas tablas preparadas “para ser rellenadas”. Los países en vías de desarrollo comunicarán cada dos años sus objetivos, de una manera voluntaria. Habrá una evaluación internacional tanto de los objetivos como de las emisiones, pero no será un proceso de “verificación” real. La soberanía de los países queda por encima de estos compromisos.

Un paso hacia adelante. Dadas las dificultades de conseguir un acuerdo ambicioso y legalmente vinculante, para este grupo, sí se habría avanzado un poco. Hay un compromiso financiero para los años 2010 a 2012 de 10.000 millones de dólares para mitigación y adaptación a los efectos del cambio climático en los países menos desarrollados. Y un objetivo ambicioso para 2020 de lograr movilizar 100.000 millones de dólares anuales. Una cifra importante de dinero. Aunque quedan muchas dudas: cómo se constituirá ese fondo, quién lo gestionará, con qué criterios, serán dinero nuevo o un “reciclado” de la ayuda que se concede actualmente.

Se está avanzando en la buena dirección. Para los que defienden esta posición, especialmente los líderes de Estados Unidos y algunos países desarrollados, el Acuerdo pone en evidencia que hay voluntad política por afrontar este reto y que ahora falta ir avanzando en las concreciones. La presencia de tantos jefes de estado pone de manifiesto que hay una voluntad clara de seguir avanzando en esta dirección. Y teniendo esa voluntad clara el resto de los objetivos se irán alcanzando.

Y en segundo lugar algunas reflexiones breves:

Las expectativas eran muy altas. Creo que es evidente visto el resultado, en el marco de la Convención se había avanzado mucho en las negociaciones, clarificando posiciones, objetivos y posible financiamiento. Pero era un plan muy ambicioso, en el fondo por la vía de reducir las emisiones de gases se estaba planteando una intervención fuerte en el tejido industrial y en la actividad económica. No es que se cierren chimeneas o que se ponga un impuesto especial, es que detrás de éstas hay miles de puestos de trabajo en cuestión: o por reducción de capacidad productiva o por limitación de la competitividad. En teoría esto estaba hablado, pero en realidad no. Las negociaciones en el marco de la convención no habían llegado a los órganos de decisión de los países, o si lo habían hecho no de una manera convincente.

El papel de la ciencia. En su conjunto creo que sale reforzado. El escepticismo científico sigue ahí pero el Panel de científicos ha superado notablemente la prueba. Han sabido responder, con prudencia a lo que les parece cierto, muy probable o probable. El desafío medioambiental está ahí, y probablemente más grave según van mejorando las predicciones. La adaptación a condiciones climatológicas muy diferentes va a imprescindible, la mitigación de sus efectos no va a ser diferente. El papel de los científicos seguirá siendo muy importante.

Las Naciones Unidas han mostrado su enorme debilidad. A medida que los debates avanzaron la imagen, y la personalidad de Naciones Unidas se fue diluyendo. Las Naciones Unidas se basan en el principio de igualdad en la representación (excepto en el Consejo de Seguridad, donde cinco naciones tienen derecho de veto), por eso esas sesiones interminables en las que intervienen representantes de todos los países. Por eso intenta alcanzar sus acuerdos por consenso. En Copenhague las Naciones Unidas intentaron mantener su identidad hasta que Estados Unidos y China rompieron el equilibrio, con la ayuda de otros países, y desestabilizaron todo el procedimiento. El documento fue aprobado por todos, excepto por cinco países, y esto reequilibró un poco la situación. Pero Copenhague ha mostrado la enorme fragilidad de Naciones Unidas. Cualquier proyecto de gobierno mundial tendría que pasar por reforzar esta institución.

Convicciones profundas para cambios profundos. Somos víctimas de nuestro tiempo, y nuestro tiempo está condicionado por los medios de comunicación. Las cosas tienen que suceder ya, inmediatamente, para que se puedan transmitir y podamos pasar a la siguiente noticia. Pero la vida social no tiene esa velocidad, tampoco la política, y tampoco la económica. Lo que se ha planteado en Copenhague es un cambio profundo de amplitud mundial. No es sólo hacer unas adaptaciones técnicas, lo que se está proponiendo es que la humanidad acepte someterse a unas reglas de juego que entrañarán limitaciones para algunos y esfuerzos para muchos; y además cuyos efectos, la mayoría, serán futuros. Es un gran reto. Y eso exige mucha voluntad, de muchas personas. En este sentido, los creyentes tendríamos que ayudar mucho. Al reconocer este mundo sostenido por Dios, nuestra mirada busca la reconciliación de todo lo creado, de todos los seres, con su Creador. Y sabemos que esta reconciliación no será plena hasta que todo encuentre su horizonte en aquél que lo llamó a ser. Creo que esta la gran misión a la que estamos llamados los cristianos, no a decir lo que hay que hacer –por supuesto tenemos que participar mejor en ello- pero sobre todo a sostener la esperanza. Junto a todos aquellos que la hacen posible cada día.

The Marx Brothers’ cabin

December 19, 2009 1 comment

Today has been a reminder of a memorable scene from the Marx Brothers‘ film. Their small cabin begins to fill with people and, surprisingly, not only do they all fit, but even they are able to perform their roles in the midst of total chaos.  Likewise, the Bella Center has filled up with many protagonists, all of whom have been able to play their roles amidst the confusion.

Unfortunately, the surprise of the morning was the speech by President Barack Obama. Totally deceiving.  Portraying himself as offended, he seemed arrogant in his attitude towards all the other Heads of State, and therefore towards all the citizens of the world.  In the end he placed all responsibility on China for denying an international emissions control.  Furthermore, he considers the ridiculous proposal for the reduction of gas emissions in the United States (4% from here to 2020) as sufficient; and he also supported the set up of a fund of 200 billion by 2020 without specifying the US contribution to it.  Meanwhile, it is well known that by these objectives it is impossible to control the rising average temperature under 2º C, the most promising level for controlling climate change.

Obama’s speech marked the most pessimistic moment of the conference.

This evening there were great efforts at negotiating.  Heads of State met until the late hours and into the early morning.  In the words of Brazilian president Lula, it was an embarrassing show of bartering and tradeoffs.  He even considers this the worst political meeting he has attended since his days as a combative union leader.  In light of all the possible catastrophic threats that the future faces, the tightfisted negotiations for even the smallest gains are a bad sign.  This was Lula’s message before Obama took the stage.  After Obama spoke, even the smallest amount of hope began to fade.

This afternoon there have been some willful attempts to make up for lost ground.  The Heads of State want to take at least something positive back to their countries.  Disgracefully, the priority does not seem to be climate change.  Rather, they want to protect their images and not to go home as failures.

It is very likely that tonight, after all the various special interest meetings, there may be some sort of an agreement.  In any case, it will be an agreement with a little impact, one not based on justice and one that is not legally binding, which was the main goal.

This afternoon in the Klimaforum, an event parallel to the Conference which has organized numerous activities over the past two weeks, and which has had a huge participation of youth from many different countries, the activities continued – although bitterly.  I think they had greater expectations, much more than their leaders, and their response has impressed me.  They continue to look to the future.  Copenhagen is history.  Tonight they had their well-deserved farewell party.  They accomplished what they came to do.  Perhaps Obama should have visited them.

El camarote de los hermanos Marx

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

El día de hoy recuerda a la memorable escena de los hermanos Marx, el pequeño camarote se va llenando de gente y sorprendentemente no sólo todos caben sino que consiguen representar su papel en medio de un caos total. El Bella Center se ha ido llenando de personajes, y en medio de una gran confusión todos han podido recitar su papel.

La sorpresa, desagradable, de la mañana fue la intervención del presidente Barack Obama . Totalmente decepcionante. En la forma, adoptando la postura de ofendido y tratando a todos los demás Jefes de Estado, y con ellos a todos los ciudadanos del mundo, de un modo arrogante. En el fondo, trasladando toda la responsabilidad a China por negarse a un control internacional de sus emisiones; por considerar que el ridículo compromiso de reducción de emisiones de los Estados Unidos (un 4% de aquí a 2020) es suficiente; y por exigir que se acepte un pacto sobre 200 mil millones de dólares, sin explicar cuál va a ser la contribución norteamericana. Sabiendo que con esos objetivos es imposible contener el aumento medio de temperatura por debajo de los 2ºC, nivel que ofrece algunas posibilidades de contención de los efectos del cambio climático.

La intervención de Obama ha llevado a la Conferencia a su momento más pesimista.

La noche fue un gran esfuerzo negociador, Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno estuvieron reunidos hasta altas horas de la madrugada. Y en palabras del presidente brasileño Lula fue un ejemplo vergonzoso de regateo, de cambalache, él mismo la reconoce como la peor reunión política a la que ha asistido desde su tiempo de combativo sindicalista. Ante la magnitud de los acontecimientos que amenazan el futuro las negociaciones cicateras para obtener algún beneficio arriesgando lo mínimo eran muy mal presagio. Así lo advirtió Lula en su intervención anterior a la del presidente Barack Obama. Y tras la intervención de Obama si quedaba alguna esperanza quedó prácticamente agotada.

La tarde ha sido un esfuerzo voluntarista por lograr algo. El gran argumento de que tantos Jefes de Estado no pueden irse de Copenhague con las manos vacías ha sido el único motor que ha sostenido las negociaciones toda la tarde. Por desgracia no es la preocupación por el cambio climático lo que mueve a nuestros gobernantes  sino la necesidad de proteger su imagen y no volver a casa fracasados.

Es muy probable que esta noche, después de alocados encuentros, comunicados, desmentidos, filtraciones interesadas y las concesiones mutuas se logre un acuerdo. En todo caso será un acuerdo poco ambicioso, no basado en la justicia y probablemente no legalmente obligatorio. Es decir, no era lo que se pretendía.

Esta tarde en Klimaforum, el evento paralelo a la Conferencia, en el que se han organizado numerosas actividades estas dos semanas, y donde la participación de los jóvenes de muchos países ha sido notable, la actividad seguía con el mismo interés –aunque con un toque de amargura-. Creo que ellos esperaban más, mucho más de sus líderes, pero al mismo tiempo su manera de reaccionar me ha entusiasmado: siguen adelante, Copenhague ya ha pasado y ellos miran al futuro. Esta noche tenían su fiesta de despedida, bien merecida por el trabajo que han hecho y el buen ambiente que han mantenido. Ellos sí han logrado lo que pretendían, tal vez Obama tendría que haberlos visitado.

Discurso de Obama en inglés Obama Speech Copenhagen English

La víspera del acuerdo o no

December 17, 2009 1 comment

El seguimiento de la Conferencia se ha hecho más complicado. Desde esta mañana se ha reducido drásticamente el número de personas con acceso al Bella Center, el lugar donde se está desarrollando la Conferencia, y que ha sido, prácticamente,  nuestra casa durante estas casi dos semanas. Los números no están claros, en total parece que se han registrado más de 40.000 personas aunque el Bella Center sólo tendría capacidad para 15.000. Hoy sólo han permitido entrar a 1.000 personas de las ONGs y sociedad civil, y mañana viernes 18 el número se ha fijado en un centenar. Seguramente una coincidencia que sea el viernes cuando se espera al Presidente Obama.

Se ha habilitado un polideportivo con grandes pantallas de video para que puedan acudir los miembros de las ONGs. Muy poca gente ha acudido, los grupos han buscado otros lugares para concentrarse, rechazando así las instalaciones ofrecidas por el gobierno danés porque esta solución de último minuto no ha convencido a nadie. El pabellón ha tenido un aspecto desolado todo el tiempo.

El día ha sido una sucesión interminable de intervenciones de Jefe de Estado, Primeros Ministros o Ministros de casi doscientos países. Un record de asistencia para una Conferencia de este tipo. En general no ha habido un discurso malo, todos han preparado muy bien su intervención de tres minutos. Unos más conciliatorios, otros más agresivos, unos difusos, otros concretos, unos querían conmover (me imagino que no a los cansados diplomáticos que les escuchan), otros llamar la atención y lograr algún titular en los periódicos. Todos con la lección bien aprendida: temperaturas, gases, responsabilidad, es el momento… y después con la posición bien tomada:

– es necesario limitar las emisiones: argumento mantenido por todos, pero especialmente por los países menos desarrollados y que más sufren los efectos del cambio climático

– todos debemos limitar las emisiones: es la posición de los países más desarrollados que quiere decir que la India, China, Brasil, África del Sur y todos los países de ingreso medio también deben someterse a restricciones de gases;

– dispuestos a hacer un esfuerzo financiero: lo que propuso inicialmente la Unión Europea; Méjico, Australia y Noruega se unieron después y esta tarde se ha sumado, afortunadamente, los Estados Unidos;

– no hay compromisos financieros suficientes: lo que dicen dos tercios de los países reunidos, los menos desarrollados;

– las emisiones de gases deben ser controladas por terceras partes: el punto de discordia que han encontrado Estados Unidos contra China, ésta última se niega a un control internacional de sus emisiones porque eso afectaría a su soberanía.

A mediodía el Secretario Ejecutivo de la Convención. Yvo de Boer, informó que se había llegado a un acuerdo sobre procedimiento. Desde ayer surgió el rumor de que la presidencia danesa estaba preparando un borrador de documento que sirviera como documento base. La reacción, especialmente de los más pequeños, fue muy fuerte rechazando esa posibilidad y exigiendo que sólo se discutan los documentos de los grupos de trabajo. Al final se ha impuesto esta tesis y sólo se discutirán los documentos elaborados en los grupos de trabajo. Esto significa una lentísima velocidad y abre la cuestión si la Unión Europea ha rechazado su intención de que haya un único acuerdo que incluya a Estados Unidos. Los dos grupos de trabajo están orientados a elaborar dos documentos distintos: uno prolongando Kioto (que obliga sólo a unos cuantos países, los más desarrollados excepto Estados Unidos) y otro acuerdo proponiendo compromisos a largo plazo, en principio no obligatorios.

El conjunto del día es tan frustrante como necesario: es el tortuoso camino de la diplomacia y de las relaciones entre estados. Sin duda que todos preferiríamos una reunión de pocas personas que decidieran rápida y eficazmente, pero las Naciones Unidas son precisamente eso: “naciones”, por eso cada Estado tiene el derecho a participar y hacer su contribución, aunque eso signifique casi dos días de escuchar a Jefes de Estado y Primeros ministros. Hacer globales las circunstancias locales es un esfuerzo enorme. Esta Conferencia viene a reforzar la necesidad de estructuras, más eficaces y fuertes, para un mundo que cada vez puede entenderse menos como estados cerrados y sí como sociedades más abiertas y relacionadas.

Los discursos seguirán toda la noche hasta la madrugada. Los negociadores seguirán también toda la noche intentando llegar a algún acuerdo aceptable para todos ellos. Hoy ha nevado en Copenhague, esperemos que el frio no entre también en las salas de reuniones y termine por congelar las conversaciones.