Saturday, December 15, 2007

CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATION

Now, after Bali, come the pundits and lots opinions. Next come the proposed plans. Then (hopefully) action. It's mind boggling to see what it takes to change habits but this is truly a huge undertaking. Our energy hungry industrial world is presently 80% dependent on fossil fuels. So there's going to be much more talk and lots of politics.

Andrew Revkin gives a good running account at DOT EARTH and he is being a true blogger, inviting a global conversation: "... on Sunday I’ll post a series of “Letters from Bali” from people who attended the meeting in various guises — activists, politicians, scientists. Were you there? What impression did the gathering leave? Hopeful? Disgusted? Drained? Energized?"

The big question is whether talk and politics and the slow machinery of the democratic process can meet the challenge in time or if Nature will have to teach us in harsher ways. Personally, I dunno, but it seems that we're all going to get pulled into the conversation. Perhaps, if we tire of our differences, we will be able to see our common plight -- that's the dream. Like the Hopi elder said, this could be a very good time.

(UPDATE) There are already signs. As the US played bad guy obstructionist, the developing countries let go of their own past resistance against being judged on their own (often dismal) problems and stepped forward into a new leadership role. According to Washington Post writer Juliet Eilperin:

"It has never happened before," [Marthinus] van Schalkwyk [of South Africa] said of his and other developing countries' willingness to be judged on their climate efforts. "A year ago it would have been unthinkable."

In rapid succession, other developing nations also chastised the U.S. for blocking a global agreement.

"If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way," said Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's ambassador for climate change.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the standoff between American and other nations helped inspire the developing world to "pull together to keep the process alive before it sunk.

"I've been in this business for twenty years, and I've never seen a drama like that in the U.N. process," he added.


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