Likes sands in an hour glass, these are the [remaining] days of our lives…43. At least that’s all that’s left according to remarks of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. On August 11th of this year the Secretary-General told a gathering of the Global Environment Forum: “We must seal the deal in Copenhagen for the future of humanity. We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.” (emphasis added)

The Secretary General then went on to say the deal that had to be sealed in Copenhagen “to secure the future of our plant” would need to incorporate four key points:

  • “First industrialized countries must lead by committing to binding mid-term reduction targets on the order of 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels.”
  • “Second, developing countries need to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions in order to reduce the growth in their emissions substantially below business as usual.”
  • “Third, developed countries must provide sufficient, measurable, reportable and verifiable financial and technological support to developing countries.”
  • “Fourth, we need an equitable and accountable mechanism for distributing these financial and technological resources, taking into account the views of all countries in decision-making.”

These are fairly concise, unequivocal remarks for a UN diplomat, not exactly a group known for clarity even if it is histrionic. But that was then. More recently, the UN Secretary General said: “It may be realistic if we think Copenhagen will not be the final word on all these matters. But if we agree on a strong politically binding commitment that will be, I think, a reasonable success.”

“A reasonable success?” He thinks? What happened to “[f]our months to secure the future of our planet”? How can such a critical date for the fate of humanity be as flexible as when one does a load of laundry? It doesn’t seem to make sense, unless of course, the never really was such a crisis.