Indeed we look at the developed countries expecting them to lead by example not to lack the courage of their own convictions. On closer examination the cynic in me starts seeing situation from a different perspective:
Lets examine one particular situation which is complicated however on closer inspection on realizes the main hurdle to the effectiveness of conferences like the one in Copenhagen are the very nations who organize it and enforce the rules on others. The hypocrisy becomes evident especially when the media fails to show what the actual problem is, politics, religion, nationalistic, social structure accounts are given as reasons for the incidents however no one takes into account the Environmental impact of forgoing responsibility.
Playa de Bakio, is a Spanish fishing trawler which has been in the news a few months ago it was fishing in Somali waters, this fact is not disputed by even the Spanish officials. Even though Illegal fishing is a crime, this has been largely ignored for the best part of twenty years off the coast of Somalia. Fishing trawlers from different countries practice fishing techniques that are banned in their own countries as these are harmful to the environment to trawl the ocean water around Somalia. Their actions destroy the ecological balance and make environmental sustainability next to impossible.
They benefit from the sale of Somali fish all over the world and reap the profits, the international community has said little about this issue which costs the Somali people upwards of an estimated 94 million dollars yearly it jeopardizes the economic and environmental viability of fisheries for future generations of Somali children. The internal problem of the country and the anarchic situation it faces does not allow other countries to come and take advantage of the situation just because there is no resource to enforce the law. So the trawler is taken over by pirates, it becomes international headline news, but as long as they keep fishing illegal everyone can turn a blind eye to their piracy.
This kind of behavior is widespread and there are many examples around the world where developed countries take advantage of situations to make their countries cleaner while polluting others, if only they where not that narrow minded and short sighted they would come to the conclusion that the broader picture shows this earth is what they have to protect not the temporary and imaginary borders which represent countries.