In an impassioned speech, Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico and the host of the international climate summit taking place in Cancun, called for the nations of the world to stop “squabbling” and to work as one to halt global warming. After a session featuring the heads of state from Norway to Nauru, he recalled the scene in Copenhagen, Denmark, when nearly all of the heads of state of the entire world came together last year, yet left with a sense of failure and recrimination. After a state dinner with the queen of Denmark, Calderon said, they spent their moment of opportunity fighting behind closed doors for hours over who was to blame for the disastrous situation our civilization faces now — while the smallest nations, those least responsible for the pollution, are now on the “point of disappearance”:
Sometimes I think in this respect we fail to understand that we’re all passengers in the same vessel, in the same aircraft, or the same vehicle. Our aircraft has now seen the disappearance of the pilot. Something happened in the cabin. And all the passengers are responsible for the aircraft, and we’re squabbling about these matters. Whether the guilt lies with those in the tourist class or those sitting up front in first class and the plane continues to go down. It’s as if we were in a truck on a winding road and the driver has had a heart attack, and we’re all on the edge of hitting a tree, going over into a ravine, squabbling again. I think, friends, somebody has to take control of the aircraft or put on the brakes.
Calderon endorsed a practical and positive outcome to the Cancun talks — an official acceptance of emissions targets, while recognizing that they may be insufficient to preserve the future of the small island states; immediate deployment of the international green fund for the least developed countries; the REDD+ mechanism to turn deforestation into reforestation; and forward steps on putting a price on carbon at the national level. These are just some of the challenges facing the negotiators today — the United States delegation continues to be primarily concerned about transparency for China‘s pollution-reduction commitments, for example.
Expressing a sentiment shared by the activists outside the halls, and by the millions of people already suffering in our diminished, polluted world, Calderon called for the nations of the world to transcend their differences, disparities and faults and work together, finally, before all of civilization reaches the verge of disappearance.
“But today let us act,” Calderon concluded. Rejecting the ideological stand of the Bolivian negotiators — and the typical diplomatic tactics of practically every party in Cancun — Calderon said that “radical pretexts or all-or-nothing postures shouldn’t provide a proper excuse for those who don’t want to cooperate to spend another year fighting and squabbling among the passengers among that single truck, that single bus, that single aircraft which is on the point of crashing.”
Transcript of the English translation: Read more