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POST COPENHAGEN October 21, 2009

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment.

Do we actually know now, what the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate decision will be? We probably do.

The greatest probability is that partial solutions and compromises will be arrived that which do not address the dimensions of the problems. In other words, in this likely scenario, Copenhagen will be a symbolic action without effect. The climate crisis will get worse, time will lost, and the danger to human survival and to the global climate system represented by the increasing amount of greenhouse gases will increase.

What would be necessary to actually begin to address the problem and the challenge? At what point we as a global community have to go cold turkey on CO2 emissions, and would that make a difference?

As Michael McCarthy in The Independent sees it the argument is principally between the West, in particular the US and Europe and China and India who are now marching up the table of carbon emitters and in the process developing their economies and growing richer.

He writes:

It is the position of the US which is crucial. President Barack Obama has to take something substantial to the table in Copenhagen in December in terms of US domestic action, but the Bill which will define US climate policy is stuck in the Senate, and will not go through until Mr Obama’s healthcare package is dealt with, which may not be in time. Can Mr Obama offer something to China and its fellows which Congress will ratify? Maybe. The British Government is optimistic that he will. But if he can’t, there will be no deal.

Is that the only threat?

That’s the major threat, but it’s by no means the only one. This is a treaty whose initial text was 200 pages long and contained 2,000 “square brackets” – points of disagreement. It has to be agreed line by line by 192 countries whose representatives are all playing to different domestic agendas and who might have difficulty agreeing on the colour of an orange. If anybody tells you this is a simple matter, don’t listen. It’s true we have the technology to solve global warming, but this is not about technology. This is about politics, about the art of the possible. And it’s the most difficult piece of politics the world has ever seen.

So Copenhagen fails, the dangers to the life support systems of the earth continue, with symbolic actions of no consequence, what has to happen then? The political system is attempting to make decisions is essentially dysfunctional. One way or another, the choice is live or die, but the possibility of living well does not seem a possibility and so represents at an elemental level a failure of the human species. We choose, or had chosen for us, death over life. We have become pathetic.


1. We could develop a five-year proactive plan to convert each of our local communities, street by street to alternative energy. If we think individually – what I might do – we power down, but if we think collectively and politically we power up ie constructive, emergent or creative power.

2. I differ from Chris Hedges, although his case that business organizations might be more important than households is a good point. We do not have to demonize anybody if our purpose is persuasion, and often times business will have better systems and longer experience with dealing with environmental issues. So it is important they connect with the right people. An upcoming program on ABC’s Science Program goes to this situation:

THE SCIENCE SHOW with Robyn Williams – Business and climate change.
Midday, Saturday 24 October, repeat Monday 7pm

The Smith School of Environment and Enterprise in Oxford has an international team trained to explain to companies what’s involved to cope with climate and sustainability. Can scientists use language that businesses understand?

3. Next Saturday:

This Saturday, 4000 events
Type: HTML Msg

Dear friends,

Saturday, October 24 is the 350 global day of climate action. Learn more and find a local way to join in —

Last month, from events in hundreds of cities, we flooded world leaders’ phone lines with the Global Climate Wake-Up Call. This Saturday is the next global day of action on climate change–a worldwide wave of extraordinary events that will show leaders the accelerating breadth, power, and clarity of the global climate movement.

On Saturday, thanks to more than a year of organizing by our friends at 350.org and others, citizens have assembled more than 4000 extraordinary climate actions across nearly every country, from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef to the summit of Mount Everest. Now, by joining actions in our own communities, we can supercharge the day and make the climate movement impossible to ignore. Click below to see the events map and find an event nearby:


The 350 day of action is named for 350 parts per million, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere that scientists say would be the safe for the climate. (At the moment, we’re at 387 parts per million and climbing fast.) Already, thanks to organizing around the world, 89 countries have now committed in principle to setting 350ppm as a worldwide goal — and the number has become a kind of shorthand for the fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty that we are all working for.

On October 24th, at each event — at rallies and parties and deep-sea dives — we’ll take a photo centered around the number 350. The photos from around the world will be handed over to waiting reporters, broadcast to the world’s media on giant screens in New York’s Times Square, and delivered directly to hundreds of world leaders and politicians in the coming weeks.

Gathering to pose for a 350 photograph might seem like a small action — but when it’s being done thousands of times in thousands of cities, it grows in force, showing global leaders a snapshot of the massive, vibrant groundswell of worldwide citizens demanding solutions on climate change. Let’s make this huge. Find a local event and sign up to attend:


In less than 50 days, our governments will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate a new global treaty to prevent a climate catastrophe. At the moment, the negotiations are stalling, and a fair ambitious and binding treaty looks a long way off. But it is precisely at times like these when people power, with hundreds of thousands of us working together, can make the difference.

With hope for October 24 and Copenhagen,

4 . . . n




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