by Mai Kim Khuyen
Humanity has long ignored the task of healing the en-vironment to ensure the planet s survival.
Perhaps now the continuous calamities that have befallen since the first days of 2010 will persuade the people of the world that they must look beyond economic development so as to make their lives rich and beautiful.
Otherwise, Mother Nature may well punish their neglect and irresponsibility.
A quick sampling of the media shows the likely effect climate change has had on the weather of Asia, including China, South Korea and India.
The temperature in Beijing fell to minus 16.7oC the lowest in the capital since 1971 as rare snow fell in central and eastern China.
In Seoul, the cold choked the rush-hour commute and flights were cancelled.
In India, the death toll from the cold was at a record high with the threat of rolling blackouts amid forecasts of continued cold in southern and northern Asia where such low temperatures are extremely rare.
In Australia, just a day after flood waters the result of a tropical cyclone that began in the far north inundated parts of outback south-eastern Australia prompting evacuations and the declaration of an emergency, the country s meteorologists warned that 2010 was likely to see the continuation of the ravages wrought by climate change.
This means more heatwaves, dust storms, life-threatening wildfires and record high temperatures.
In Britain, soldiers helped rescue drivers stranded in the United Kingdom s most brutal winter in decades and bitter cold cloaked much of Europe.
Unfortunately, the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference-the largest and most important climate meeting in history-seems to show that the world s major economic powers prefer that the irresponsibility continue.
How else are we to interpret a conclusion where each country nominates what action it is prepared to take without any legal obligation to do so?
The conference refused to understand, recognise and accept the scientific evidence of climate change.
It failed to act because it lacked the political will to admit that climate change is contrary to the theory of infinite economic growth that underpins the capitalist economy and consumerism.
But we live on a finite planet and something will have to give.
Mother nature has been ignored or forgotten. It s as if the rich countries have no thought for the lives of those in the poor countries when the making of money is at stake.
Their behaviour makes the notion of humanity limiting global warming absurd.
Copenhagen seemed not so much about climate change but a way to implement the framework and the funding for world governments.
If that was the plan, then it was partially successful.
The industrialised countries are to establish a US$100 billion-fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
We all know that if the money is not properly managed, the international bureaucracy will be gobbled up almost all of it.
What is required now are the details of how poor countries are to be helped financially to reinforce their defences against rising seas, water stress, floods and storms.
But can someone please explain how the governments of the world plan to limit global warming to 2oC especially if they proved that man-made carbon emissions are not its cause?
If global warming is a naturally occurring phenomena then the focus should be on how our growing population is to survive a warmer planet.
The gloomy truth is that future wars will be most likely fought over access to fresh water while prolonged drought will limit food supplies.
Reduce carbon emissions by all means, it makes for a cleaner world, but we should not just presume that the temperature of the planet can be successfully limited.
Unlike victims of political violence, environmental refugees are not yet recognised in international law but the day may not be too distant when that too changes.
Perhaps we will come to call that and other changes for the worst: Mother Nature s Revenge. VNS