United Nations Climate Change Conference, Warsaw 2013
In a perfect world, we would have free press that report objective and fair news. We are also told that western developed countries are responsible in their dealing with global issues, especially one as important as climate change. However, if you think there is no invisible hand behind what is selected to be reported by press, privately or government held, think again. Contrast the following headlines and one can clearly tell how politics affect what is being reported and omitted:
NGOs walk out of climate talks in Warsaw
A rather comprehensive article but still biased in EU’s favor by listing a list of countries which renegade on their earlier pledge but did not mention why the G-77 countries walked out. Instead it mentioned a handful of countries, led by Poland, are threatening to derail a future global agreement!
133 countries walk out of UN climate meeting over global warming compensation row
The main emphasis of this article is obvious by the title. This article stated the walk out happened because industrial block refused to agree that the mechanism for compensation is needed now instead of 2015. The point of view of the industrialized and developing countries are stated clearly.
China urges developed nations to fulfill funding commitments for climate change
This China Daily articles did not even mention the walk out or back tracking by some countries but instead focus on the short fall of funding and take a swipe at developed countries.
UN climate talks drag on as EU and U.S. put pressure on China
This article portrayed European Union and the U.S. as wanting to do something but was resisted by China, “the world’s biggest carbon polluter” and some countries. It did use a quote to show the EU spokesperson as having moral high ground. Then added a line from developing nations accusing the EU spokesperson. This article is probably the most biased of the lots as it included willful insertion and omission.
Ministers work to avoid breakdown in Warsaw climate talks
The focus of this article is on the bickering among the developed and developing countries. It started off by quoting the EU spokesperson accusing developing countries of evading responsibility naming India and China. It reported that as talks go on, division between rich and poorer countries become increasingly obvious.
To be honest, I am seriously disappointed after going through those articles and a few more I have not listed. I feel that these articles are more into misleading than informing the readers. What exactly is going on in the negotiations? Why can’t those countries come to agreement, and why do rich and poor countries stand on such opposing grounds? Sadly, none of those information can be found and we simply find some vague indication here and there.
The evidence for a global climate change is still far from conclusive. However, everyone know that pollution is bad. That is a fact. In a free and fair world, each human should be allowed to emit a certain amount of pollution to ensure he has a meaningful existence. Nevertheless, what is not made obvious in the talks is that this is not the subject of discussion. The argument hinges on how rich and poor countries should bear different responsibility.
Here’s a list per capita emission (metric tons of CO)of selected countries (using 2009 data):
EU (average), 8.1
This is why the negotiation breaks down. The rich industrialized countries want the poor countries to reduced their planned increase together. On the surface this sound like a neutral solution but it is not fair at all. Basically, what the rich is saying the poor do not have the right to emit the same per capita as the rich! The rich countries will try to check their emission by a certain percentage but the poor should also do that, albeit a different percentage.
To be free and fair, shouldn’t everyone be equal, including the rich and poor? Why is it that the rich countries proposed something that is so unjust? I thought human rights and environment is at the forefront of their agenda? If human economic activities produces pollutant that could harm the whole humanity, shouldn’t each person shouldered the same responsibility? Obviously not. What the rich is saying is, “We are more equal than the others”.
The so-called free press simply showed their true color by being mouth piece of their respective government and interest groups. In the view of those editors, vested interest is more important than the fate of humanity. The solution is actually very simple, if yearly 20 metric tons of CO emission per person will not destroy planet earth, everybody should be allow to generate the same amount. If that is not the case, we should come to an agreed upon number and every countries should try to abide by it. By setting different standard for different countries simply showed how little the “developed” countries have developed.