Sunday, December 13, 2009


For the past few days, Cause Global has been aggregating some posts and off-camera snippets from some of our friends and acquaintances in Copenhagen this week for the climate talks. Here are a few excerpts we've collected so far, for starters:

* Livestream of the Climate Conference, from Click here to tune in.

* NPR science correspondent David Kestenbaum's 60-second explanation of what's happening and what's at stake:
"Most is happening behind closed doors but yesterday, there was a large rally of 40,000 people waving signs, including ones that read, There Is No Planet B, meaning there isn't a backup planet. But here's the deal: People at the talks pretty much agree the climate needs to be fixed but they also know that fixing it won't be for free, so everyone is working out how to split up the costs of repair. Most of the arguing is going on between the big and richest nations and the smallest and poorest nations in the world. The United States wants binding agreements from countries. They want countries to commit to strictly reducing their carbon emissions; they want people to put those commitments on paper and sign them into being. It's not politics so much as it is math. But mostly, so far, many representatives—including those from India and China—don't want to make those kinds of binding commitments, so everyone is continuing to talk."

* Climate-change skeptic Lord Monckton, a conservative British politican, business consultant and former policy adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told NPR Marketplace correspondent Steven Beard that he has found it annoying to see legions of youth protesters convening daily outside the summit hall. Said Monckton: "I have been surrounded by chanting children with zombie-like faces who have been trained by their teachers to yell fatuous slogans, including: 'Ooh, ooh, it's hot in here; there's too much carbon in the atmosphere.'"

* A small delegation from the small island nation of Tuvalu — the tiny Polynesian island nation in the Pacific, population 11,992 — has become the cause celebre of the thousands of environmentalists attending the conference, and its representatives at COP15 have been urging Summit conferees to hammer out aggressive commitments to curb CO2. "...Our entire population lives within 2 meters of sea level," Tuvalu's representative, Ian Fry, told conferees earlier in the week. "...I want to have a legally binding [350 ppm] treaty. We've had our proposal on the table for six months. I woke this morning, and I was crying, and that's not easy for a grown man to admit. The fate of my country rests in your hands..." Meanwhile, the Consequences Project at the NOOR photo agency shared this image of Male, the capital island city of The Maldives, in the Indian Ocean. We're reprinting this image of the crowded city at the ocean's edge, photographed by Francesco Zizola, below, with permission:

* Canary Project's Ed Morris, in a GOOD mini-series on the cultural happenings surrounding the talks, posted this after being in Copenhagen for a few days:
"I find myself waiting for the violence. I want to see something, anything that expresses real urgency and physicality. It's in the air, one of the many crosscurrents blowing across the cultural landscape. The Bella Center, where the conference is being held, seems like a distant planet toward which we orient ourselves in expectation. Winds blow from there, too, carrying this or that rumor. What will happen? And what will happen when nothing happens? The actual weather is a constant gray sky. Occasionally, you notice it is raining. When did it start? Will it ever resolve into a storm?"

* A video compilation of the weekend's protest gatherings, below:

*One of the many temporary installations set up by environmentalists in Copenhagen is a 20-meter-tall multimedia globe built by Maryland-based Absolute Hollywood Inc. The globe is actually a giant screen broadcasting real-time satellite footage of the Earth from outer space. The globe-screen stands more than 15 times taller than the largest IMAX screens and has been broadcasting the planet throughout the talks, "as a constant reminder of what is at stake here," says company CEO James Lanier says. Here's a YouTube profile of the structure:

* From sustainability consultant Mirele Goldsmith of Green Strides Consulting in Manhattan:
"...When I landed in Munich to connect to Copenhagen, the passport control officer asked me about the purpose of my trip. I proudly answered that I was going for the UN Summit on Climate Change.
When he didn't respond, I said, “the big UN meeting happening this week...” Again, he didn't understand. I was getting worried. I thought everyone knew about this incredibly important event. Then finally something clicked.“Oh, the conference on climate,” he exclaimed, “every human being on the planet has to do something about that. It's not only for the president.” That was more like the welcome I was hoping for.

...Before I arrived here I had a general idea about the issues being discussed. In just one day I've learned a lot more. Here's one thing you should know. The emissions targets we're talking about in the USA are considered laughable by most people here. One thing to know is that the U.S. government is proposing to reduce emissions based on 2005 as the base year. Climate experts want emissions lowered relative to the base year of 1990. That is very important because fossil fuel use went up a lot between 1990 and 2005.

Here's another interesting tidbit. I went to a briefing by a scientist from the Scripps Institute. He showed all kinds of graphs demonstrating that the emissions of greenhouse gases reported by countries are different from the amounts observed in the atmosphere. Not surprisingly, there is a lot more of these gases in the atmosphere than anyone admits to releasing. He was looking for money to fund research. But the critical thing is that we have to cut emissions even more if we want to get down to a safe level.

Finally, at the alternative climate forum taking place in the city center, I heard a negotiator from Bolivia. She was speaking on behalf of the developing nations and indigenous peoples. She pointed out that none of the emissions targets on the table in the negotiations will actually solve the problem. If any are adopted, we will still be emitting more greenhouse gases than the atmosphere can safely absorb. We shouldn't be arguing over reducing emissions by 17% or even 40% (which is the number in the most serious proposals). We actually need to reduce emissions by over 100% to begin reversing the damage we've already done.

What's my take on all this? We have to pressure our government to do better. And we have to keep building public support for more serious action. Don't forget to call President Obama before he leaves for Copenhagen."

* A group of journalists from Mother Jones, The Nation, Grist, The UpTake, TreeHugger, and other news organizations have applied the collaborative news-wire/social media model to covering the talks, forming the Copenhagen News Collaborative to curate the best coverage from their own reporters, editors, and analysts filing dispatches and blog posts from the event. Here's the collaborative newswire published at Mother Jones, and here's the one published at [Grist has this analysis of the talks so far.] Here's the collaborative newswire published at Discover, which is offering readers a special widget to get highlighted coverage, the for a list of the journalists in the Copenhagen News Collaborative newsgroup, go to Publish2.

* From Flickr, the free photo-sharing site, comes a variety of protest photos, including a B&W photo from Sunday's 40,000-person march through Copenhagen (bottom):

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Anonymous bath mateus said...

So well and nice posting , I like it.

December 22, 2009 at 12:14 PM  

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