Thus read the lead in ABC News reporter Bill Blakemore's story Three Sleepless Nights In A Global Emergency about the outcome of the Durban climate conference.
We could have endless fun answering Blakemore's question, but the simple answer in this case and all similar cases (e.g. the European Debt Crisis) is delay, postpone, procrastinate if the decision to be made is very difficult and the consequences of action are very painful. Bill provided the answer in paragraph #7 of his longer story.
“What will the humans do?” Contentious nations bound by climate and empathy
Nature’s Edge Notebook – Durban Diary
DURBAN, South Africa – COP-17
blah, blah, blah...
And out of their endless work and attention to thousands of details came the morning’s headlines: The Kyoto Protocol binding many nations — but not the US, China or India — to strict carbon emission cuts was not only saved, but there was now an agreement among all nations — including the U.S., China and India — that by 2015, all countries would affirm binding legal agreements on carbon emissions that would go into effect by 2020.
The only reason there were three sleepless nights was that China, the United States and India—along with Russia, three of the four largest carbon polluters on Earth— were not willing to agree to any arrangement that would require them to change their collective behavior right now. And having sucessfully delayed their having to do anything at all in the here and now, they can proudly proclaim that nine years from now, they will do something. And four years from now, they will agree about what they will do five years from then.
This outcome was pleasing to Hopey-Changey, as Politico reports in Durban climate conference ends with deal for more deal-making—
Ultimately, the U.N.-led negotiations settled on a carefully worded compromise calling for "an agreed outcome with legal force" from all countries by 2015.
That language satisfied Obama administration demands to get both developed and developing countries, including China and India, to eventually put forward binding commitments — while postponing some of the most contentious decisions on the global warming accord until after November's presidential election. And it addressed European Union calls to establish a roadmap for countries not participating in the Kyoto Protocol to step forward with new mandatory climate change policies.
Implementation and ratification of the agreement — titled the 'Durban Platform for Enhanced Action' — is targeted for 2020.
Enhanced action? I may be mistaken, but isn't a presidential election already scheduled for 2016? And won't there be another one in 2020?
We have learned something today, which is always a good thing. We now know the answer to the always pertinent question what will the humans do?
Two Bonus Videos — Doug Stanhope on preserving an inhabitable Earth, and the "Do Nothing" Decade