Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Because they're better than you...

...and they party harder, too.

DATELINE CANCUN, MEXICO: The opening day of the U.N. climate change conference today laid great emphasis on achieving a package of decisions at the end of the 10-day deliberations. “Cancun can,” quipped Danish Minister for Climate Change Lykke Friis.

Apparently, the "can" that Ms. Friis was speaking of was the group's decision that it "can" do whatever it wants, wherever it wants - especially if it takes place at a destination resort.

Cancun - where the concerned go to party, er, conference...

According to a report from Reuters (on the conference), "For the next couple of weeks, thousands of government officials, NGOs, environmental activists and reporters will gather in Cancun, Mexico, for international climate negotiations, officially known as the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It's fitting that the talks are being held in a vacation resort, where people go to escape -- because only by ignoring what's happening in the rest of the world is it possible to take these U.N. negotiations seriously." (Emphasis mine...)

In other words, to keep the rest of the world from being over-indulgent, we have to indulge ourselves...

And as is the case with most UN-driven functions, this one is overbooked. A report at Xinhuanet notes a rather large number of attendees/partiers:"The [Mexican] Foreign Ministry said it is expecting more than 20,000 government officials from around the world to attend the talks on issues like financing, technology transfer and reforestation in the hope of finding a solution via negotiations which run through Dec. 10. There will also be a large number of non-governmental organizations, research institutions and businesses, which could mean another 10,000 participants at the meeting."

Yep. No carbon footprint there.

At the Cancun conference, butterflies are free - it's the mixed drinks that'll cost ya...

So what's going on there (that couldn't go on elsewhere - especially when we live/work in a world where carbon emissions can be curtailed through the use of video conferencing)? From The Telegraph UK, we get some of the following tidbits:

• Briefings with the UK delegation are being carried out in one of the many hotel rooms at the plush Moon Palace. The marble-floored room comes with a jacuzzi, although it is empty of water and has a lid on it. All the journalists couldn't fit in it anyway.

• The Moon Palace, where all the official delegations are staying has already been affectionately re-named the ‘Huhne Palace’ in honour of the UK Secretary of State Chris Huhne. A tabloid newspaper has pointed out that the Liberal Democrat minister, and the rest of the 45 people in the UK delegation, will have access to a Jacuzzi and all-you-can-eat buffet. The £240-a-night Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort also has ‘swim up’ bars and a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

• The surreal nature of attending a climate change conference on a strip of land that 40 years ago was a mangrove swamp cannot be underestimated. In the 1970s the Mexican Government decided to create a ‘super resort’ with money from the oil industry. They transformed the white beaches and unspoilt rain forests into a series of motorways, concrete monoliths and raked beaches. Add cheap labour and booze and you have a success story. Cancun is now most well known as the destination of choice for American teenagers during Spring Break. It has 27,000 hotel rooms, liquor stores, white beaches and not much else. But it has also destroyed a pristine environment and is pumping out millions of tonnes of carbon and effluent everyday. Mexican environmentalists intend to use the hypocrisy of the situation to highlight some of the problems in their country with regulation of pollution and destruction of the remaining rain forests.

As Instapundit quips: "Party on, dudes. Reduced consumption is for the little people."

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