Climate Talks are Heating Up in Copenhagen (pun intended)

Along with several other environmental news outlets, the <a href=”http://www.mnn.com/eco-glossary/copenhagen-climate-talks”> Mother Nature Network</a> updated the world about a staged walk-out at the Copenhagen Climate talks this morning. The Group of 77, a group of mostly developing countries, walked out of the talks to protest the progress thus far. From discussions last week, this group feels as though they are getting the short end of the stick.According to the G-77, the trend in discussions looked like the developed countries wanted to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, something from which majority of the G-77are exempt,and work on an entirely new treaty.

Excerpt—

“They [the G-77] want developed nations to commit to cuts beyond Kyoto’s 2012 expiration date, with any new treaty serving as a complement to Kyoto. “The killing of the Kyoto Protocol, I can say, will mean the killing of Africa,” says a member of Mali’s delegation. “Before accepting that, we should all die first.” Danish officials hosting the conference temporarily suspended all formal talks until they can work out an agreement to bring back the African-led G-77.”

Read <a href=”http://www.mnn.com/eco-glossary/copenhagen-climate-talks”> this short article</a>  to learn more. Mother Nature Network has several short, to the point articles covering the day to day of these talks.

What are your thoughts? Are the 77 overreacting or are the justified? Personally, I think it’s hard to judge their emotions and understand their plight, since I am not living it day in and out. But, I think it’s important that as they develop they consider smart, sustainable and green growth vs. conventional industrial growth like that of the West. Overall, I am still holding on to hope that they all come to a solid consensus by the end of this week and we can start moving a true, global effort towards positive change.

Let’s Stop Going Green and Really Go Green

I read an interesting piece in the Washington Post over the weekend by Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  Tidwell’s piece is interesting in light of the EPA’s recent action concerning CO2 (EPA: Greenhouse Gases Endanger Human Health from the AP via ABC News) .  Tidwell’s basic argument is that most American’s are pretending to go “green” by washing their clothes in cold water and buying issues of magazines that are on “green” topics, but that we are not really changing the way we live.  He argues that we pretend to be green rather than actually making significant changes.  Here is a link to his article and a small quote: To Really Save the Planet, Stop Going Green

Green gestures we have in abundance in America. Green political action, not so much. And the gestures (“Look honey, another Vanity Fair Green Issue!”) lure us into believing that broad change is happening when the data shows that it isn’t. Despite all our talk about washing clothes in cold water, we aren’t making much of a difference.

For eight years, George W. Bush promoted voluntary action as the nation’s primary response to global warming — and for eight years, aggregate greenhouse gas emissions remained unchanged. Even today, only 10 percent of our household light bulbs are compact fluorescents. Hybrids account for only 2.5 percent of U.S. auto sales. One can almost imagine the big energy companies secretly applauding each time we distract ourselves from the big picture with a hectoring list of “5 Easy Ways to Green Your Office.”

As America joins the rest of the world in finally fighting global warming, we need to bring our battle plan up to scale. If you believe that astronauts have been to the moon and that the world is not flat, then you probably believe the satellite photos showing the Greenland ice sheet in full-on meltdown. Much of Manhattan and the Eastern Shore of Maryland may join the Atlantic Ocean in our lifetimes. Entire Pacific island nations will disappear. Hurricanes will bring untold destruction. Rising sea levels and crippling droughts will decimate crops and cause widespread famine. People will go hungry, and people will die.

Morally, this is sort of a big deal. It would be wrong to let all this happen when we have the power to prevent the worst of it by adopting clean-energy policies.(Mike Tidwell, Washington Post, December 6, 2009)

One of the things that Tidwell points out is that Obama would really need Congress to act in order to take significant action.  He doesn’t seem to think that this will happen.  However, this EPA ruling (EPA: Greenhouse Gases Endanger Human Health from the AP via ABC News) may be the sort of regulatory muscle Obama needs.  As Obama head to Europe for the climate summit, it will be interesting to watch how this plays out.