It’s taken me a few days to get my head even part of the way around Haiti: it’s a strange and wonderful place that has so many signs and so few destinations. What I mean by that is that you see here the beginnings of things and the leftovers of things, but they often don’t seem to lead far. As though the events and history of this half of the Hispaniola island have always been in a constant stop-start mode. It’s as though there are so many influences culturally, politically, religiously - not to ever forget the impacts of serial natural disasters - that few things move in a linear manner to a meaningful conclusion.
Well, the dark skies are persisting over Durban for the climate change talks, but it’s nothing in comparison to the storm over the UK’s vetoing of the new European agreement over fiscal policy and regulation.
So most of the observed climate change of the last 60 years is human-made. A new study by a couple of Swiss scientists has put the figure for human-made or anthropogenic climate change at at least 74 per cent, with the chance that no more than a quarter of any change can be attributed to natural climate variability.
Durban is a pullulating town with an over-built seafront and surfing-sized waves. It doesn’t feel like Africa, it feels more like Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. I’m trying to work out if that’s a good or a bad thing. But while I do there’s everything and nothing going on here at the United Nations climate talks.
Assessing the Government's position on a Financial Transaction Tax
At the G20 Cannes Summit my colleague Tina Weller accused David Cameron of being cynical for hiding behind the likes of Barack Obama and Julia Gillard, by choosing only to support taxes on financial transactions as a nice idea in theory.
At the end of the G20, Nicolas Sarkozy’s frustration at the UK’s stance on a number of issues, including the financial transaction, or Robin Hood tax, was evident. During journalists’ questions at the final communiqué press conference, the BBC’s Paul Mason got short shrift from the French President.