Tuesday, November 03, 2009

EU Signs Off Valueless Blank Cheque for Climate Change

While European politicians pat themselves on the back, claiming to have successfully agreed to a climate change initiative ahead of the Copenhagen Summit, by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, others aren’t so sure.

United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the European Union (EU) is leading the way, with bold proposals, after he, and leaders from 27 other European countries signed the treaty.

The Lisbon Treaty, outlines, among other things, a fiscal plan for allocating funds for climate change initiatives, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty budgets 100bn euros a year by 2020. That would an immediate pay out by member countries of about 5bn to 7bn euros, to achieve that 2020 spending goal.

Initially, this alienated many small EU member countries, as they said they could not afford such a high cost. Nine of these poorer countries threatened to block the deal, unless the richer countries paid more.

This is where the waters begin to get murky – no cost targets for individual EU nations were announced. In fact, the initial funding will be completely voluntary, with the details hammered out by working groups later.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the agreement

Gordon Brown touring the slums of Nairobi, Ken...Image via Wikipedia

was "an important breakthrough that brings new momentum".

What new momentum?

The EU politicians have signed a piece of paper, and that is about all they really have accomplished.

Whenever governments make deals with no definitive plan of action, it is almost a certainty that these deals are just for public relations and have no real merit.

It is like winning the lottery, and being handed one of those enormous cardboard cheques that requires several people to hold. Just as you can’t take one of those giant cardboard cheques to the bank – they use them just for photo ops by the media – when politicians sign something into effect, but leave all the details to “working groups”, it’s all for the media’s benefit.

We live in tough economic times. Millions of people around the world are still feeling the brutal grips of the global credit crisis. Many of these people aren’t working – they don’t have jobs, or income. This has lowered the tax-base and in turn, the tax revenues for most of the industrialized nations on Earth.

Yet, in these tough economic times, governments are often called on more to provide support and training for their citizens, struggling just to survive in this global economic disaster.

So, governments are bringing in fewer revenues, but spending more. Meaning most governments are in debt – big time.

The American national debt is estimated at being in the TRILLIONS of dollars – it is at its highest amount since World War II. Some say, the United States of America owes so much debt, they may never pay it all off.

Which brings this blog posting full circle – EU nations have agreed to support the fiscal plan of the Lisbon Treaty on climate change, without allocating who will be paying for what, and how much.

As many of these governments are in a cash crunch, they will be very unlikely to spend big bucks on treaties which have not specifically dictated how much money is required to support this treaty.

By not forcing specific amounts on each individual EU country participating, the deal was easy for those up in arms about the cost to sign. They might as well be crossing their fingers behind their backs and chiming “na-nah-nah-na,” because they can easily go back on their word for funding support, or just pay the bare minimum they can afford.

But one of the key elements of the Lisbon Treaty is financial forecasting exact monetary amounts required to achieve environmental good.

So the only good that really came out of the signing of the Lisbon Treaty is the free press for the politicians talking about the environment, and just as the plastic cheque – isn’t worth anything at all.

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