December 6, 2009
Sudan Despot Embraces 'Climate Justice' in CopenhagenBy William R. Hawkins
Villains are flocking to climb on the fraudulent global warming bandwagon. On November 23, Stephen Sackur interviewed Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad on his BBC television show "Hardtalk." Mohamad is Sudan's ambassador at the United Nations and is also chairman of the G77 and China bloc of developing countries. The topic was the U.N. climate conference scheduled to start December 7 in Copenhagen. The Group of 77 and China bloc has played a leading role in shaping the framework for future treaty negotiations that is to be adopted at the UN conference.
Yet, the group has as its spokesman an official from one of the world's most blood-soaked regimes. Mohamad's boss, President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, was indicted by the International Criminal Court on March 4 for war crimes (two counts) and crimes against humanity (five counts). According to the International Criminal Court, "He is suspected of being criminally responsible, as an indirect (co-)perpetrator, for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property."
According to the U.N., approximately three hundred thousand people have died over the past five years in Darfur, as African rebels have fought against the Islamic regime and its allied Arab militia.
Sackur asked Mohamad whether the indictment would prevent al-Bashir from attending the Copenhagen conference, where he could be arrested. Denmark has invited all heads of state, and President Barack Obama will attend. Sudan's ambassador rejected the "so-called" ICC, but he said there was another reason Muslim leaders would find it difficult to visit the Danish capital: the publication in 2005 of cartoons that allegedly "defamed" the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons sparked riots in many Muslim countries, whose radicals have long memories.
Sackur, however, pressed on, saying, "Sudan has a fundamental problem. It wants to be a player ... but the international community sees a country led by an indicted, suspected war criminal." Mohamad rejected the characterization of Sudan being isolated. He argued that the unanimous election of Sudan to lead the G77 and China group after the al-Bashir indictment was evidence that the international community has "confidence" in the Khartoum regime. And he may well be right, given the U.N.'s actual record (as opposed to its rhetoric) on violence in the third world and the standing it accords dictators and warlords.
The Chinese connection to the G77 bloc also plays a role. China is the largest investor in the Sudan. The state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. owns 40 percent, the largest share, in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. State-owned China Petroleum Engineering & Construction has built a pipeline from the GNPOC fields to the Red Sea and a refinery complex outside Khartoum. CNPC owns most of a field in Darfur and 41 percent of a field in the Melut Basin. Another Chinese firm, Sinopec, is building a pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where CPEC is building a tanker terminal. About 70 percent of Sudan's oil exports go to China, and account for 10 percent of China's oil imports.
In exchange for oil, Beijing provides weapons and diplomatic support. China has supplied Sudan with tanks, artillery, helicopters, and fighter aircraft. China has flooded Darfur with antipersonnel mines. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of Sudan's oil revenue goes to the purchase of arms, while the general population remains one of the poorest in the world. A U.N. Panel of Experts report released October 27 found that munitions imported into Sudan in violation of the U.N. embargo were "largely Chinese in origin."
Beijing has also helped Sudan build its own factories to manufacture small arms and ammunition, the real weapons of mass destruction in Khartoum's campaign of ethnic cleansing. A report by the U.S.-funded Civilian Protection Monitoring Team concluded that government troops have "sought to clear the way for oil exploration and to create a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields." Beijing has sent its own workers and security forces to operate the oil fields.
It is now Sudan's turn to provide diplomatic support to China at the U.N. climate talks. The G77 is pushing the concept of "climate justice" and a "climate debt" owed by the developing world to the developing countries. The notion is that since the developed countries caused the present climate crisis, they should correct it by dramatically cutting back their greenhouse gas emissions, while the developing countries remain free to grow as fast as possible without any mandated limits on their emissions or on anything else that could slow them down. Furthermore, the developed countries must transfer technology and money (Amb. Mohamad suggested $500 billion) to the developing nations so they can adapt to climate change and build cleaner, more efficient industries. U.N.-speak for this concept is "common but differentiated responsibilities," and it is enshrined in every document related to the climate negotiations.
Chinese President Hu Jintao used the term "common but differentiated responsibilities" in his counter to President Barack Obama's plea for cooperation during their joint press appearance in Beijing on November 17.
Meeting in Beijing on November 29, officials from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Sudan drafted a document with four "non-negotiable" elements for Copenhagen. They will never accept legally binding GHG emissions cuts, mitigation actions that are not paid for by the developed countries, international (foreign) measurement of mitigation actions, and the use of climate change as a trade barrier. The last point is in response to language in U.S. climate legislation that could impose tariffs on imports from countries that do not limit emissions. They insist that legally binding restrictions be imposed on the developed countries.
The term "climate justice" is used by the international Left to put a moral spin on this political struggle with the kind of anti-Western flavor that is common at the U.N. and among guilt-ridden liberals in the U.S. and Europe. On November 6, Climate Justice Fast announced that activists around the world were starting a hunger strike to call attention to the failure of the developed countries to impose sufficient limits on themselves.
Action for Climate Justice is organizing protests in Copenhagen and launched "civil disobedience" actions in U.S. cities on November 30. Its manifesto proclaims, "We know that on a finite planet, it is impossible to have infinite economic growth -- 'green' or otherwise." This means it is a zero-sum world, though ACJ does not say this explicitly. But the assumption is behind the ACJ argument that just solutions must be based on "reducing overconsumption, particularly in the North; recognizing the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations."
At the U.N. Bangkok climate conference in October, more than fifty left-wing social and environmental groups from seveneteen countries issued a statement claiming that "[c]limate debt is a part of the larger ecological debt the Global North owes the Global South, accrued through centuries of theft of natural resources and violation of human rights. Reparation of ecological debt includes the complete restoration of territories and ecosystems, reconstruction of basic infrastructure, recovery of social rights and recuperating agriculture, implying the restoration of the well being of the peoples of the Global South, based on curtailing rampant consumption in addition to immediate cuts in emissions in the North."
Any change in the global balance of wealth and power will not end up in the hands of shaggy idealists marching around with placards. The new sources of strength will go to ambitious regimes in the developing world like China and its brutal allies like Sudan. Only at the U.N. could such an outcome be called justice or embraced by self-styled progressives.
William R. Hawkins is a consultant specializing in international economic and national security issues.