Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Summit, Or: Crisis? What Crisis?

So. The mighty of the world have convened, and most representatives of the media landscape seem to be equally content as the German government (yes, Angie presented herself well on the stage of world politics!).

The problem of climate change has been tackled. Well, sort of, anyway. The major novelty: Bush this time didn´t refuse any hint of a suggestion, that measures might have to be taken to cut down on emissions. This, I guess, can be called progress, even if the leaders of the world couldn´t agree upon more than the vague and distant goal of seriously considering to cut global emissions in half by the year 2050.

Luckily, by the year 2050, none of those then former heads of state will be around anymore, so they won´t have to worry about however vague statements. Plus, by that time, we probably needn´t bother with reducing emissions.

Who Needs Glaciers Anyway

Oh, and you can always cover glaciers with blankets to prevent them from melting. Don´t laugh, this is being done in the Swiss Alps, as well as on the Zugspitze:

Protective Blanket on Zugspitze

But who needs glaciers, or snow for that matter, apart, perhaps, from the odd native Inuit, and perhaps a couple of insignificant ski-resorts in the Alpes. By 2050, we have probably invented a substance which is far better and longer lasting than snow, possibly with a permanent powder consistence ... hmmm! (As an enthusiastic skier, I´m actually looking forward to this perpetually perfect powder). That won´t help the Inuit, but - geez! - don´t you think they´d much prefer, too, it when the weather is a tad warmer?

The snow we´re having nowadays is carbon stained, anyway, due to the effects of several centuries of industrialization, or so scientists have claimed recently (in addition to looking ugly and possibly slowing us skiers and snowboarders down, this carbon layer which makes the snow darker and hence more susceptible to collecting warmth, hence contributing to global warming - voilĂ !).

The deforestation of the rainforests? Bah! Minor issue! They are only a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty insects or snakes. Or political rebels.


Ugly Forest

So - good riddance, no?


Nice Forest

As for droughts and lack of drinking water becoming a problem in some parts of the world,

Drought Australia

(nope, this is not somewhere in Africa, this is Australia)

that´s going to be made up for by flooding in others.

Flood New Orleans

(this used to be New Orleans)

You see, all we have to do is build pipelines (or use the by then defunct ones, where oil used to run through) to draw the water from the flooded parts of the word and divert it to those parts where there is too little water (or none at all). I´m confident that by 2050 we´ll have worked this one out as well .

In terms of international relations, before the summit, Bush declared the cold war over, while Putin had threatend just the opposite: a revival of those bad old days. But in the end, at least the US and Russian chiefs of government didn´t go at each other´s throats, and Putin dropped his cold war rhetoric, even though he is likely still a little pissed at having an anti-missile system planted more or less in his foregarden. But having Mr. Bush acknowledge Mr. Putin´s suggestion of a joint anti-missile system in Azerbaijan "interesting" probably reconciled the Russian leader some.

Friendly Relations

But that´s not all the good news we got! Plenty of aid is going to be poured over Africa: G8 states want to cough up "at least" 60 billion dollars in order to fight AIDS and, more broadly, guarantee widespread access to basic medical needs. (60 billion dollars is, incidentally, the same amount as the annual budget of US secret services, according to a presentation published accidentally by the Defense Intelligence Agency; here´s the link. )

AIDS in Africa

Unfortunately, however, the G8 missed out on some minor details, such as when exactly that aid is due, who exactly will pay what amount, and what exactly that money is supposed to be for. And, as Oxfam recently criticized in its latest report "The World Is Still Waiting" published on June 9, G8 nations have failed to meet the promises given at the 2005 summit to stock up annual aid to 50 billion dollars by 2010: If the current trend continues, the rich nations will miss their self-defined goal by 30 billion dollars.

Generously Aiding Africa

The fact that stricter patent laws (something else agreed upon on the G8 summit) mean, among other things, that newly developed medicine will remain expensive in Africa can be generously overlooked under these circumstances.

So, all in all, the G8 summit was success as usual. More shoulder patting, more hot air. And, last but not least, not to mention a brand new 12km-fence in Heiligendamm, where the summit was held. Now, if that isn´t something!

Self De-Fence

As Prez Bush said in his speech in Prague prior to the G8 summit: "Young people who can disagree openly with their leaders are less likely to adopt violent ideologies. And nations that commit to freedom for their people will not support extremists -- they will join in defeating them."

Upon which my sweetheart asked: "Then why do these leaders have to hide behind a fence?"

Very good question, indeed!

Talking Heads

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