As the world struggles with the financial turmoil, the environmental concerns might take a backseat. The 9th of December, 2011will be a crucial date this year as it marks two important events - the meeting of envoys from 194 nations regarding global warming and the meeting of the European Union leaders in Brussels to discuss a bailout worth US$ 270 bn for debt-ridden nations.
While one can't undermine the financial crisis, it will be a folly to ignore the urgency of climate change as this year marks the final one for greenhouse gas limits in the Kyoto protocol. Especially because the nations that are struggling with the financial crisis, the so-called 'industrialised economies', are the key culprits of global warming.
However, the change in the tone of the developed nations suggests this might be the case. The protocol was once heralded as a breakthrough being the first legally binding international treaty on the environment to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions. However, it may die an inconsequential death and will reward those on the erring side at the cost of the nations that have been working hard to make this world a better place to live in. To make sure that this does not happen, it will need a strong political will to bring this whole process to a meaningful conclusion. Also, it will be irrational to use slow global economic growth as an excuse to sideline the environmental issues since both are not mutually exclusive. While the bailouts have worsened the economic situation far from stabilising them, if one has to make a choice, we hope the environmental issues get a fair chance this time.