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    Opinion: If political promises were energy, there would be no need for oil

    The CO2-neutral innovation race is on. In the private sector, that is. Whether it is pure PR or do-good spirit that drives it, CO2 neutral initiatives are all over in the business world.
    Costumers and their consciences love it, and everything points to companies going green or going under in the future because in business it is a matter of life or death to deliver what the costumers want. A promise to deliver is not enough; it has to be done.

    Unfortunately, it does not seem so in the political game.
    Some politicians can promise, no doubt. Promises are the most valuable tools of the trade. They spew out big words about what they are going to do in the distant future after 2020, pardon me if I generalize. But their accounts about what they actually get done right now and what projects they have started, are scarce and blowing somewhere out there with the greenhouse gases.
    So why can’t politicians go bankrupt like their environmentally unconscious counterparts in the business world?

    First off, because they only have to account for their actions every fourth year when the voters get their say, whereas businesses are held responsible everyday when they do their books.
    And that is the problem. During an election campaign, the voters are showered with fresh green promises and examples of the few steps that have been taken. That makes it easy to forget the promises that were not kept during the last years.
    Always look ahead and never look back, unless you can see some positive achievement through the retrospectacles. It seems to be an efficient spin. Keep focus on the future and focus moves from the past; from what didn’t get done and from what promises were merely hot air.

    What we need is more accountability in the political system to avoid this problem. There must be consequences for not living up to promises and/or agreements.
    The Danish government that signed the Kyoto protocol but is not able to live up to it must somehow account for their failure. It is not reasonable to expect that they give up power, but simply admitting the mistake and apologizing would do. Start small.

    It is crucial that some kind of accountability system is created in order to put political promises about climate initiatives into action.

    By Janus Bek Julin

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