On Friday, I blogged over at the Greenpeace web site about the most important thing Sarkozy said at the Grenelle Public Consultation on the environment, which to my ears sounded like a new French Revolution:
“From now on,” he said, “every major public project, every public decision will be judged on its effect on climate, and on its carbon cost. Each public decision will be judged on how it affects bio-diversity. The onus won’t be on ecological decisions to prove their merit, but on non-ecological projects to prove they can’t be done any other way.
Fellow Greenpeacenicks Omer and Andrew and I were in the office HOOPING when we heard those words on the BBC World report, yet I’ve seen only one news outlet, the searchless, 404-plagued EuroNews, run the quote. BBC replaced their online video piece with a cut-down, caveat-laden report about the details.
On Friday morning I was googling everywhere for it. I had the Research Unit on it. But it was when I Twittered on facebook that I was looking for it that Greenpeace Volunteer Extraordinaire Plutonium Page dug it up and skyped it back to me.
Now I know there was a lot of groundbreaking stuff coming out of the conference: from the ban on GMOs to the (was it a?) freeze on new nuclear power plant construction to the 50% reduction in pesticide use over 10 years. Nicky at the office opined “this happens again and again — if we can get a right-wing government to actually focus on this stuff, they often do a better job than the left.” And I too was impressed how Sarkozy managed to take a normally unpalatable sow’s ear of an issue for economic conservatives and spin up a silk purse: shifting the tax base to focus less on income and more on carbon is just smart, and levying import duties on countries which don’t implement Kyoto (Bonjour Australia! Né quittez pas, America!) was brilliant.
But all of that is consequence of the core message, and I found it disturbing that the core message seemed to get lost in the reporting.
Where is the Fourth Estate when we really need them? This is a G8 Government declaring a basic principle that Greenpeace and other environmentalists have been demanding for decades: an “Earth First,” precautionary-approach-informed approach to governance.
This is the kind of victory that all of us in the environmental movement should be shouting from the rooftops. But what’s out there in the blogosphere? 12 hits on “Sarkozy, Grenelle” in Technorati, and only a handful of those are relevant comment.
La Vie Vert alone seems to get it. Grist dismisses it as a “smattering of green initiatives” and then kisses off their article with a distinctly American sneer, Treehugger gives a cautious nod, only to be lambasted in the comment section by Sarkozy’s pro-business orientation as proof he could never be a lefty, Politique just thumbs its nose at Sarkozy AND Gore.
When one of the world’s leader reads directly from the script we’ve been waving in their faces for nearly 30 years, I personally think we ought to do more than give them faint applause.
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Tags: environment, ecology, sarkozy, grenelle