The UN general assembly is meeting and the biggest of wigs have stepped to the microphone to say how very wonderful it is to get along.
I jest, but in the jest, as there is not in all jokes, a slice of truth. That is we should not give undue weight to the words of our leaders. Their actions are what count. As the song has it, “We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill.”
Nevertheless, let’s document what was said and see what we might learn. First, those who spoke in favor. Again, it will ultimately be actions and not words that draw these boundaries. (I may update this later with the smaller countries who transcripts are late.)
The Pope endorsed the UN’s Sustainable Development (SD) agenda. Sort of. Actually, the UN’s Vision for Lifting Up the World’s Poor Differs Sharply from the Pope’s.
The evolving Big O of course endorses. His middle name might even someday become “The Time To Act Is Now.”
French President Hollande is on board. He said “reports all say that if we do nothing…temperature of our planet will [increase] by 3 to 4 degrees by the end of the century…So we must try to reach an agreement at this climate conference in 2015.” Sacré vert!
Mexico’s President Nieto said (my translation) the SD Agenda and COP21 “are historic decisions that promote a new paradigm; a change in the way we think and act” She said their adoption “requires a clear and firm political will of each country”.
Portugal’s President Cavaco Silva said, “I welcome the adoption of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development…to usher in an era in which poverty is eradicated.” Poverty eradicated?
Brazil’s President Rousseff said, “In the BRICS [amalgam of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], we launched a New Development Bank, which will assist in expanding trade and investment and possibly in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” And she said, “The 2030 Agenda outlines the future we want. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals reaffirm the basic tenet of Rio+20: it is possible to grow, include, preserve and protect.” She also said we’d have Paris.
South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye said the “I believe the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be an important stepping stone that can lead to a second and third [Korea-like economic] miracle around the world. The Republic of Korea…which will be playing a key role in the implementation of this development agenda, will actively contribute to achieving the development goals.”
The Dutch King said, “Our Kingdom welcomes the Sustainable Development Goals…And we will put our hearts and souls into helping ensure their success”
Qatar’s Amir said, “It is gratifying that the United Nations has adopted the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Plan which we have participated in, because it is our belief that a good distribution of the development fruits is a prerequisite for realizing social justice…” Perhaps he meant redistribution?
Denmark is chomping at the bit. Prime Minister Rasmussen said, “The Sustainable Development Goals carry a multi-trillion dollar price tag. It cannot be solved by governments or aid alone. We need the support of all actors: private enterprises, civil society, NGOs, international organisations and many others.” Pay up, sucka.
Chile’s President Bachelet is all over it. “Primary responsibility for sustainable and more equal development rests with each individual country. Chile is enthusiastically committed to this task. However, this endeavor requires a favourable environment, since many of the targets are affected by global dynamics and most of the challenges that we face today cannot be resolved by each country in isolation.” Give us money?
Cuba’s President Castro Ruz said (my translation), “Climate change poses a danger to the existence of the human species…” Etc., etc.
Switzerland is for. So is Nigeria, but only to the extent that they get something out of it.
Vladimir Putin spoke in favor of COP21, and said Russia will reduce “greenhouse gas emissions to 70-75 per cent of the 1990 level.” But this was not rousing cry for action. He said “we should take a wider view” of the proposed solutions and that “We need a completely different approach.” He suggested “introducing fundamentally new technologies” to handle problems. So mitigation and not capitulation.
Belarus is agin. Not only that, President said, “Under the guise of the protection of human rights, overthrows of governments, destruction of states and wars over resources are being justified. Chaos and anarchy are proliferated. Predatory attitude to nature and pursuit of easy profit are culivated…This leads to degradation of human consciousness, when someone’s perverted whims are treated as a norm.” Harsh.
China’s President Xi said “We should care for nature and not place ourselves above it…to achieve sustainable development”. He pointed to those living in poverty and said the “Development Agenda must be turned into action”. And he mentioned mitigation about climate change. Xi is in the Against column because Chinese leaders have been known to tell their listeners what they want to hear at a greater rate than other country bosses, and because he brought up mitigation.
Poland’s President Duda said, “I wish to assure you about my country’s readiness to participate in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.” A statement with lots of cracks in which Poland can escape.
Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev is much more interested in ridding the world of nuclear weapons, and thinks a one-world currency will help.
South Africa’s President Zuma said, “We seek a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement in Paris that is applicable to all Parties. In addition, for South Africa as Chair of the G77, a Paris package that is hollow and weak on finance would not be acceptable.”
Egypt’s President Al Sisi said, “Development is a fundamental human right.”
Iran was mum on the entire subject.
Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe said, “We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ that are contrary to our values, norms, and beliefs.”
Uganda’s President Museveni seemed not too hot on the idea.
Update: Any additional comments relating to killing the lives inside would-be mothers on this thread will be deleted.