The Post Copenhagen Apocalypse

This entry was posted Saturday, 19 December, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Okay, it’s not that bad…well, yes it is. After years of deliberations, and months of preparations, the world came away with very little to celebrate from Copenhagen. In fact, status quo prevails and worst case scenarios seem almost inevitable. MK and I wished we had gone to participate in the protests and the myriad projects of “yes we can” model projects the City had put on, and rode with others on bikes in the sub freezing temperatures. But we had to live vicariously through the posts, and suffered the incredibly poor coverage by our nation’s media, plagued by “Climate-gate” black and white, two sides fallacious reporting and CNN’s “Truth or Trick” outrage. Nice sabotage.

We watched Charlie Rose last night, and it was everything we could do not to commit hari kari. On the show were Drs. James Hansen, Jeff Sachs, Elaine Claussen Pew President and a reporter from The Post.

Sachs was thoroughly morose and laid most of the blame on the US and Obama’s failure to lead over the last year on this issue. Hansen was still hopeful that EPA, using the Clean Air Act (CAA), could force FF reductions, increased CAFE, etc. Claussen was holding out for Cap and Trade, which has a very slim chance of passing the Senate and was arrogantly confident that her Washington power world would deliver something. Hansen was adamant that we need to look beyond the cap and trade Bill to Carbon Tax and Dividend, and believed it could be brought to a national debate, as many are becoming jaded with the allowing polluters to pollute, watered down and politically manipulated bill. He gracefully beat back Claussen’s defense of mitigation– a key component of cap and trade, which fails to understand the basic scientific fact that we are altering the geophysical carbon balance by releasing from under the the Earth’s surface enormous amounts of carbon that any mitigation will affect, brilliant!

All blamed the Senate for stalling on this issue, and pointed out that the US had signed the Convention on Climate Change in 1994 and in 19 years has done nothing, even though that treaty has bound us to cuts and requirements to give to developing nations. Obama has also been a major failure in framing this debate as it seems his staff can not command the language or high ground on this issue, captured by the old paradigm that the markets should be “free” to destroy our planet.

What we all must take away from Copenhagen, is don’t expect leadership to lead. We are going to have to do this ourselves and look to local solutions. Key:

1) up our political activism to pressure Washington and our States to use CAA to regulate;

2) work towards bi-lateral deals with China and India to set meaningful reductions, help in technology transfer, Millennium development goals and adaptation;

3) find local policy, funding and capital systems to promote our new green economy bottom up.

Without solid playing field changes to stabilize carbon prices, don’t expect the engine of the free markets to contribute anything.

Watch as the news from around the world spirals downward as climate disruption rears its head, and pray for forgiveness that we did not do more and let a small group of greedy, conservative, status quo, ideologues keep us from acting in time to avert the unfolding, human induced disasters .