In the long term we are all dead sooner without united climate stand

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 May, 2010, 12:00am

Cop 15 (the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen) was a magnificent opportunity for countries across the globe to come up with measures to combat global warming.

Nations were brought together in one place and at one time. It was our planet's biggest hope, a chance to set aside our differences and allow all countries to work together and find a solution to a common problem. However, petty-squabbling and self-interest meant that the conference was a failure and nothing concrete was achieved.

Countries came to the conference with their own pre-established agendas instead of being prepared to work together towards a common goal. There were too many parties taking a short-sighted approach and putting self-interest above all other considerations. They had made up their minds not to co-operate even before the conference got under way in December. This ensured no solution would be found at Copenhagen.

Countries must come to the realisation that all nations must share the cost of tackling climate change. And the biggest polluters, such as China and the US, must be prepared to accept a larger obligation and to make a greater contribution. This is based on the polluter pays system, and these countries must abide by it.

The conference became a battle between developed and developing nations. No one was prepared to accept their responsibilities. We are all blinded by materialism and it is this materialism that has caused us to neglect the earth and put it at risk. However, at the end of the day, we are the biggest victims of climate change.

The clock is ticking and there is no time to waste. We face a very delicate future. The future will be what we make of it now.

There is a Cree Indian proverb: 'Only when the last tree has been cut down, Only when the last river has been poisoned, Only when the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.' Countries must alter their materialistic mindsets. They need to abandon their stand where short-term self-interest is the priority, and instead form a united front to deal with climate change.

Beatrice Yeung, Happy Valley