Articles in the media over the last few days abound with phrases like ‘Brokenhagen’, and ‘No Hopenhagen.’ Pundits far wiser than me are struggling to know whether anything useful was actually achieved. The BBC and the Independent newspaper have useful articles but no-one believes it was anything but a lost opportunity. One quote captures the bleak judgement: “if the planet was a bank, they would have rescued it!” So much for the disappointment. But what now?
I have been reading lots of articles over the last few days and trying to see some signs of hope, and sure enough, there are some. OK, the gains were small compared to what was possible, but there were some gains. However, what I have begun to realise is that in a curious way, Brokenhagen might just be a blessing in disguise.
I can only speak personally, but if the summit had produced a really ground-breaking set of climate change proposals, or even a plan that was closer to what was needed but not quite the full shilling, I for one might have concluded “that’s it, problem fixed”. And from then on it might have been business as normal. No lifestyle changes needed... no personal engagement... crisis over.
That’s not an option now. The road ahead will demand a superhuman effort on behalf of millions. It will involve a mix of lifestyle changes, table-thumping insistence, rational argument, and (I hope) non-violent protest that together make it clear that anyone elected to office in this country or others has to be serious about climate change.
And it will demand more of us personally (including me personally) because the easy option (let the leaders sort it out) hasn’t worked.