Copenhagen Climate Change Agreement – Baby Steps Forward

Scientists are “screaming at the rafters” to anyone who will listen that we need to put the breaks on global warming now, or the crash with our environment is going to be catastrophic!! Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be paying close attention. In fact the “whispering” has been getting louder these last few months that the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference likely would not be able to produce the binding agreements that some governments and many environmental groups the world over had hoped for. With the clock ticking and the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012, the US is still not ready to come to the negotiation table armed and ready to go. Without the US fully engaged, the talks can’t be successful. This past weekend, the whispering stopped and we were told loud and clear NOT to expect a definitive outcome from Copenhagen. Rather an “interim agreement” will be adopted with plans to “flesh out the details” later in 2010.

In a joint statement issued on November 17, 2009 the Presidents of both China and the US tried to put a positive spin on the failed negotiations, stating that climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and that “a vigorous response is necessary.” They said, “International cooperation is indispensable in responding to this challenge.” According to the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs “An agreement [on climate change], while taking into account the different responsibilities and capabilities within the global community, [it] should be transparent and “include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries.” It should also substantially increase financial assistance to developing countries, promote the development of clean energy technology, and pay particular attention to those most vulnerable to climate change.

The US and China are the worlds largest emitters of manmade greenhouse gases, together accounting for 40% of total world emissions. China, which was not included in the Kyoto Protocol, has indicated that it will be a player on the world stage at the next round of international negotiations on climate change. As our world “heats up,” we are already being challenged to figure out how to adapt and mitigate the consequenses of climate change around us. The key to any agreement will be transparent “targets” for emissions reductions for both developed and developing countries. The US needs to adopt domestic targets first, in order for the US to move forward internationally. Right now, the US Senate has before it their own version of a House bill on Clean Energy and Security, which was passed in June by the House of Representatives. Tell your senators, and get your kids to tell them, we want the US to take the lead on Climate Change!

It’s not too late; don’t let our politicians off the hook if they can’t come to an agreement in Copenhagen. Lets pay closer attention and listen to what the scientists are telling us. Lets look at the changes the natural world is showing us, everyday. Let’s demand that our politicians listen to the science and help reach a solution to this critical issue of global warming. It affects us all, wherever we live in the world.

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