The USG Open Source Center translates Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Copenhagen on consumerism, hydrocarbon imperialism, massive military budgets, and obscene profit-seeking as the drivers of global climate change. Ahmadinejad earned top grades at Tehran Polytechnic in math and science; why didn’t he stick to what he knew instead of venturing into the history of the Holocaust or social engineering projects like repressing democracy? But on global warming, note how much more sense he makes than US Republican senators like Jim Inhofe, whom a Der Spiegel reporter just dismissed as ‘ridiculous.‘ It could be objected that iran is a big oil producer, but actually it produces less than the US. Ahmadinejad even manages to defend Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in this context and to depict US opposition to it as an attempt to force the world to remain bonded to hydrocarbons. Of course, Ahmadinejad’s theocratic-technocratic solutions are unworkable, and only greater democraacy and a strong public voice could hope to achieve the goals he sets out. In any case, despite the source, the speech is more sensible than half the things one hears about climate change on American corporate media.
Iran’s President Says Materialism, Capitalism Cause of Climate Change
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Friday, December 18, 2009
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
(Ahmadinezhad in progress) … … Every year millions of people lose their lives as a result of pollution, and skin and respiratory illnesses are on the increase. If greenhouse-gases continue to increase at the present speed, they will reach twice the level of gases before industrialization. In other words, instead of a reduction of 50 per cent, they will increase by 50 per cent and will pose a real challenge to the natural environment.
Gentleman, you may associate these remarks with various similar and related issues in your minds. However, the question is this: What is the cause? The first answer is the increase in the consumption of fossil fuels and widespread and destructive meddling with nature. But the main and more serious question is: What is the factor responsible for the increase in the use of fossil fuel and meddling with nature? I would like to present the answer to this question in two levels.
The first level takes a fundamental and macro view of the problem. Is the climate change phenomenon merely an ecological problem or is it first and foremost a cultural, behavioral and economical issue?
Dear colleagues, a glance at the changes in social circumstances and thought processes in the, at least, past two decades will reveal the dominance of materialism over thought, behavior and ties in vast parts of the world. The survival of capitalism depends on the rigorous spread of consumerism and widespread meddling in nature.
There is an ongoing and endless competition for fuelling consumerism in order to increase the income of big investors. Progress based on consumerism has been designed and publicized. In some parts of the world consumerism has turned into a social value. Production for more consumption and consumption for more production has become an endless, destructive and vicious circle.
We all witnessed how they (presumably the West) created massive problems leading to the recent economic crisis by inventing 30 billion dollars of fake assets on paper and by fuelling consumption. Based on the materialistic perspective, maximum personal pleasure and profit is a strategic and fixed objective.
Promoting consumption, eliminating rivals, conquering global markets, monopolizing new technology and preventing nations from achieving self-sufficiency are all manifestations of this school of thought. That idea does not stop there; it goes as far as fanning the flames of the arms race and war, and considering as appropriate the increase in the procurement and sales of arms. Is it not true that all of those are the outcome of the capitalist system’s global outlook and liberalist economy and the need for the huge consumption of cheap fuel and destruction of nature?
The second level concerns a political one. The way in which the world’s energy resources are accessed and utilized is one of the factors contributing to wars and international tensions. Energy has always remained a security and political issue.
Energy and oil have been the basic and strategic factors in security and foreign policy of the American government for a century, as they also played similar roles in previous empires. During that time, oil-rich areas of the world have always been subjected to wars and military expeditions aimed at dominating energy resources.
Please pay attention. America, with less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, consumes 25 per cent of the world’s oil and energy, more than 18 per cent of the world’s timber, and around 14 per cent of the world’s waters. Moreover, around 40 per cent of the world’s vehicles are on the move in that country.
This government has a military budget which is the equivalent of (the total of) most of the world countries. It has an active presence in all the regions of the world which are experiencing wars and conflict. These so-called industrialized countries are home to nearly 20 per cent of the world’s population but consume 85 per cent of the (world’s) energy and, as a consequence, create the most pollution. It isn’t clear what would happen if others were to adopt these countries’ behavior.
The American government and its friends stress the development of the production of fossil fuels and they are using bullying methods to stop the development and spread of new technologies for the use of renewable and clean resources. At the same time, by refusing to accept their international commitments and giving futile promises, they are blocking the creation of a global will to control the spread of pollution. It’s clear that the current climate conditions are a result of the thinking and arrogant behavior of a number of governments and greedy countries, which believe themselves to have supremacy over others, and are pursuing their ultimate interests and world domination without any consideration for the consequences.
My friends. It’s impossible to maintain the current situation. It will lead to the destruction of human life. However, the question is that what is the solution? Based on what has been said, it’s clear that the main and key solution is to return to divine and humane values. God has created man as a dear creature. He has desired mankind’s integrity, growth and prosperity. He has granted man rights and invited mankind to monotheism, justice and righteousness. He didn’t allow discrimination and injustice to exist. God has asked humans to respect each other’s rights, to be compassionate toward one another, to help each other’s progress and development, to share their happiness and sadness, to sacrifice what they have for the sake of the prosperity and welfare of others, to make justice and fairness the basis of their behavior toward nature and each other, and to avoid gluttony and seeking supremacy over each other. He would like to be thanked for the divine blessings such as forests, woods, water and air through their correct use and not bring about the annihilation and destruction of the seas and climate.
Dear colleagues. Without a doubt, if such thinking and the schools of thought which were presented to mankind by the divine prophets are used as the basis of life, the destruction of the environment will be brought under control and the climate will have a chance to regenerate itself and create better conditions for the continuation of its life. Based on this we would like to propose the following:
1) A working group consisting of intellectuals dedicated to resolving the problems of mankind from volunteer countries set out and put at the disposal of mankind the criteria for its prosperity in a specified time and based on a divine and humane world-view, which most of the world people believe in. Consumption can be balanced by reforming criteria and fairly distributing public assets in the world. It is possible to set up a prosperous society in which wealth is distributed efficiently and fairly, life goes on in a sincere atmosphere, the competition for supremacy turns into a competition for compassion, and consumption is controlled based on the needs.
2) The current economic system should be based on the aforementioned conditions and be organized and defined in line with justice and human dignity. The consumption model should be based on realistic needs and should not be drawn up in a way which increases consumption.
3) The so-called industrialized countries should fulfill their international commitments. At the same time, clear and feasible mechanisms should be drawn up which bring the disobedient governments and economic sectors under control and obligates them to pay fines to the countries which have experienced a loss. It has been said that more than 250 billion dollars has been spent on the expedition to Afghanistan and around 1,000 billion dollars has been the cost of the war in Iraq. Wouldn’t 50 billion dollars spent on Afghanistan’s infrastructure and economic development have turned this country into a developed country? And wouldn’t 200 billion dollars on developing new technology and suitable use of fossil fuel have returned the pollution level to the period before industrialization?
4) While the spread of greenhouse-gasses causes 1,000 times more silent deaths than the actions of terrorists, who are the most hated creatures, is it not true that all the objectives of the convention would be achieved with only half of America’s military budget? Is it not better to allocate part of the military budget of the leading nations to promote the people’s welfare and reduce pollution?
5) By abandoning this profit-oriented and monopolistic view, new technology, diverse sources of energy and also clean and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, sea tide, geothermal and nuclear energy would become cheaply available to all countries, and they will not have to resort to the extensive use of low yielding fossil fuel.
6) In order to execute the budget in the best way possible and achieve the long-term objectives of the convention, countries should accept financial commitment to the world climate fund in proportion to their share of pollution in the past. And the resources of the fund should be distributed in a fair fashion and away from the control of the main polluters. Would it not be better to redirect the funds for the production and distribution of nuclear arms, through global disarmament, to the development of new technology, welfare and fight against poverty? We propose to designate the year 2011 as the year of rectifying consumption model and reducing pollution and suggest drawing up a plan to promote the culture of human values.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the Islamic Republic of Iran has mentioned the responsibility to protect the environment in Article 50 of its constitution as a principle in line with the teachings of the Koran and divine values and has declared it a public duty. And to this end the government has focused on the following plans:
– Reduction in energy consumption through improving standards in industries and productions,
– The management of consumption and elimination of energy subsidies in a planned and scheduled program,
– Extensive conversion of vehicles, industries and power plant to run on gas,
– Provision of access to natural gas for more than 90 per cent of cities and many villages,
– Extensive research on the use of clean energy including wind, solar, as well as plans for the production of nuclear fuel and 20,000 mw nuclear electricity.
Whilst supporting the Kyoto Accords and the strengthening of this accord, the Islamic Republic of Iran announces is preparedness to continue its cooperation, especially in the efficient use of energy resources and the indigenization of the technologies related to the environment, alongside the financial and technological support of the clean energies mechanisms or in the shape of bilateral cooperation.
Iran is prepared to put the results of its research and experiences in the use of clean energies at the disposal of other countries. We would like to propose that a bank or a technology centre be set up to transfer this research and experience to the Group-77 countries and China under the supervision of the secretariat of the convention. I hope that the governments which have created the current situation accept their responsibilities and with everyone’s cooperation this historic and important meeting will be able to reach constructive agreements and give a suitable response to the numerous demands of various countries and nations.
I would like to thanks all those who love nature and human life and the public groups which through their speeches, rallies and enlightenment have stimulated positive sensitivities toward the necessity to protect the environment. I would like to also ask God to help everyone to be of service to mankind, to revive humane and divine values, to implement justice and righteousness, and protect the global environment which will become possible through the rule of righteous people.
I would like to sincerely thank you all for the attention you have paid.
(Description of Source: Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN) in Persian — State-run 24-hour news channel in Persian, Arabic and English; presenting up to the minute domestic and international news. It offers exclusive interviews on a variety of topics, as well as information on universities, labor, and economic developments from the capital and the provinces.)
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