s/r home  | issues  | authors  | 16 contents

Synthesis/Regeneration 16   (Summer 1998)


Error in Kyoto Statement (S/R 15)

There were two errors in the version of "A Message from World Green Parties and Federations to the Third Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention Meeting in Kyoto, Japan" published in S/R 15 (Winter, 1998, pp. 16-18).

When Ralph Monoe, Secretary General of the European Federation of Green Parties, sent us a copy in November, 1997, he wrote, "If you have any comments on the text, please contact us urgently." I immediately sent a message noting,

"I have an EXTREMELY SERIOUS CONCERN with the sentence: 'Increased efficiency and reduced labour costs will also strengthen the competitiveness of exports from any nation that undertakes such shifts.' The context of this sentence makes its meaning very ambiguous. I urge you to delete it.

"It could be interpreted as endorsing the neoliberal dogma which is the cause of environmental destruction and economic injustice.

"Greens should avoid any statement which might suggest we support reducing labor costs. Impoverishment of working people is incompatible with our goal of economic justice. The language of this sentence could jeopardize the alliances which many American Greens have built with trade unions. Additionally, the aim to 'strengthen the competitiveness of exports' contradicts Green goals of living cooperatively and harmoniously and reducing unnecessary (and polluting) trade.

"I also have a concern with the order of the following three sources of global prosperity:

  • Replacing and retrofitting the world's vehicle fleets for propulsion by electricity, fuel cells and alternative fuels.
  • Reconstructing human settlements in compact forms that reduce reliance on the automobile.
  • Converting the world's electrical generation to renewable sources and the world's homes, businesses and industries to highly efficient lighting, appliances, equipment and motors.

"I urge you to consider listing 'Replacing and retrofitting the world's vehicles...' last rather than first. The automobile is one of the great abominations of industrial society and reducing its use should always be listed before making it more efficient. Greens should emphasize the importance of living simpler lives."

The same message went to Patrick Mazza, author of the original version, who responded. "No problem with your suggested changes. Good points. Don't want to set working people in competition with one another, and cars can easily go to the top."

Reading Patrick's message, we incorrectly assumed that the European Greens would also agree and prepared the Kyoto version with the changes. Shortly afterwards, Ralph Monoe wrote "Patrick made the initial draft, the text you have now is definitely a joint text by Greens in several continents! Please publish the version you have got."

Our apologies. It was S/R's mistake for jumping the gun and publishing the changed version before hearing from Ralph.

Don Fitz, Editor, Synthesis/Regeneration

Synthesis/Regeneration home page  | Synthesis/Regeneration 16 Contents