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Copenhagen: The Last Chance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Polar icecaps melting into the sea…

Barren land and black smoke…

These are just some of the actual and overstated scenes that we have seen in art and drama, but they show a true picture of what will happen after just a few years if drastic steps are not taken to forestall the phenomenon of global warming, which is increasingly affecting the world day by day. These scenes come with a flood of information and statistics that reflect the threat against the planet and which have been circulated in western media from reports and special coverage or ads that came out prior to or during the 2009 Climate Summit in Copenhagen [that began Monday 7 December] and which aims to take decisions and actions that will contribute to reducing global temperatures.

But what began as general and concerted effort on the part of the European and western media subsided and disappeared when it came to the Arab media, which has not changed its news priorities, with each following its political calculations and agenda.

It is true that the biggest polluters (the United States, China, India, and the European Union) are more responsible than others for the rise in global temperatures, but the implications of the carbon emissions of the industrial countries do not exempt the Arab regimes, society, or media, from the responsibility of limiting the impact of this disaster.

Global warming is something that threatens the world at large, and exacerbating this phenomenon will literally result in the death of more people in the future due to temperature increases and the rise in sea level, the spreading of diseases, and an increase in hunger and poverty, which is something that millions of people in our countries are already suffering from.

The target of the final outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Summit is not to have an immediate and direct impact [on climate change] but there is hope that outspoken and unified voices – like those that took part in the opening [session] representing 56 newspapers in 45 countries – will remind the politicians and negotiators that life as we know it hangs in the balance, and they must transcend all differences and deals that have cost mankind and continues to cause harmful damage.

It is true that articles and information are being circulated on the internet and in Arab publications with regards to the dangers of this ecological disaster. Nevertheless, the general tendency is one of indifference or a fleeting interest before indulging once again in the divisions and crises we have grown accustomed to following, in the process forgetting that Arab nations and societies will unwillingly pay dearly as a result of this ecological disaster.

There are only a few who are actually optimistic about the results of the Copenhagen summit. Some people have not even tried to hide their fear that possible settlements and bargains might be reached that would allow rich and industrial countries to continue releasing large amounts of harmful gases after paying compensation to poor countries, and that would be also be a catastrophic situation.

A quick look at the figures on the reality of Arab states and societies reveals the exorbitant cost Arabs would pay if they do not act fast. There is no room now to question the facts and figures in order to delay making such tough decisions. Desertification and flooding are not the only disasters we need to worry about if world leaders fail to start acting on containing the problem.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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