Towards a Copernican Revolution on Climate?

“Since nothing prevents the Earth from moving, I suggest that we should now consider also whether several motions suit it, so that it can be regarded as one of the planets. For, it is not the center of all the revolutions.”

Nicolaus Copernicus, was a Polish astronomer who put an end to the belief that the earth was the center of the universe.

Copernicus’s discovery marked a turning point in the way humans saw the planet they were – and are still – living on. But today, more than ever, our planet and our development as humans are threatened by global warming.

The climate talks starting this morning in Poznań (west-central Poland) must mark a turning point in international negotiations. This is a key event in the creation of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The delegations coming from all over the world will have to switch from dragging their feet to full negotiation mode. For the sake of people and the planet there is no more time to lose.

Until now, their progress towards limiting the global warming (to below 2C) has been far from sufficient.

Their respective efforts to reduce emissions must be based on their historic responsibilities for causing this crisis and their capabilities to confront it.

There’s a polish proverb that says “Bogatemu to i diabel dzieci kolysze”, the rich man gets his ice in the summer and the poor man gets his in the winter. When it comes to the future of the planet, money is just one part of the effort needed.

The rich countries now must cut their emissions first and fastest but support the poorest and most vulnerable people to adapt to the unavoidable effects of a crisis they are not responsible for. Time is running out. The cost of world leaders’ inaction is enormous.

Time has come to set the course for a fair deal to be signed by Copenhagen in December 2009. That’s the challenge of these critical talks. That’s what Oxfam, its partners and millions of vulnerable people around the globe are pushing for.

Let’s hope the Poznan climate talks will mark a turning point, similarly to what the Polish astronomer did 5 centuries ago.

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