Climate Rhetoric: A Further Selection


Yesterday I posted a selection of comments by politicians here at the Copenhagen climate change conference. More words have flowed since then, and I didn't want faithful H&R readers to miss out on all the fun. So transcribed below is a selection of comments made from the plenary podium by a variety of trenchant observers, including a surprise appearance by Fidel Castro:

Any new regime will have moral authority and credibility only if it acknowledges that every citizen of the globe has an equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space.  — Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

The fault lies with the capitalists, with capitalism….Capitalism is the way to the destruction of the planet. – Hugo Chavez, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Political disagreements should not hinder environmental cooperation. Carbon molecules carry no passport. Rivers require no visa. Pollution travels with them.  – Shimon Peres, President of Israel

This agreement can lead to the eradication of global poverty through the real distribution of wealth to developing countries. This deal can protect our environment, and preserve our rainforests and the biodiversity that they contain. This deal will finally protect our planet and its species from the ravages of climate change. —  John Gormley,  Environment, Heritage and Local Government Minister of Ireland

Malawi, in Sub-Saharan Africa, lies in the part of the world that is most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and yet, being an LDC, is among those countries that are least able to cope with the impacts. – Grain Malunga, Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Minister of Malawi

The current dominant models of consumption and production are often unsustainable from the point of view of social, environmental, economic and even moral analysis. We must safeguard creation – soil, water and air – as a gift entrusted to everyone, but we must also and above all prevent mankind from destroying itself.  – Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See

Energy is the key to economic development of all States…Therefore, under the international system of mutual interdependence, we expect the outcome to move away from the adoption of protectionist trade policies that are disguised and biased against the various types of fossil fuels, especially petroleum products. – Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia

Elsewhere in the world, commentators may be inclined to refer to climate change crisis as an existential threat. For us in Africa, it is the beginning of the Apocalypse that must be averted.  – Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria

Cuba, a country viciously blockaded by the mightiest world power, with limited resources has implemented a real energy revolution that has enabled it to considerably reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide.  – Esteban Lazo, Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba

Somalia experienced dramatic environmental shifts following two decades of insecurity and chaos in the country… Somalia continues to witness extreme weather events, changes in weather patterns, floods and droughts, and the vanishing of its biodiversity.  Agricultural production, food security and access to water resources are being severely compromised by climate change. – Buri Hamza, Environment Minister of the Somali Republic

Two cultures are antagonizing: the culture of life and the culture of death. The culture of death is capitalism, which indigenous peoples identify with those who want to live better at the expense of others…[who live by ] exploiting others, plundering their natural resources, assaulting Mother Earth, privatizing basic services. [In contrast], living well is living in solidarity, in equality, in complementation, in reciprocity… When it comes to climate change, these two cultures are antagonizing, and if we don't decide which is the best way of life, we will not be able to solve it. – Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

While I was covering an interminable press conference featuring the dynamic Bolivarian duo, Hugo and Evo, I was handed some "Reflections by comrade Fidel." Evidently Castro is watching the conference from afar and he thinks that his buddies doing a spectacular job, actually calling Chavez' speech "brilliant." I include an observation about the conference from comrade Fidel below:

The world has seen the fascist methods used against the people in Copenhagen. The protesters, most of them young people, have won the solidarity of the peoples. Despite the maneuvers and deception of the leaders of the empire, their moment of truth is drawing closer.  —  Fidel Castro, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba