Gearing up for Copenhagen

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So what is this all about? I thought we sorted this in Kyoto? Why is it back again in Copenhagen?

Climate change, the rallying call for environmental protection and management, that is why. It’s not gone away, it’s likely never going away, certainly in its wider guise of environment management. The next round of negotiations take place at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen 6-18th December 2009.

It is incumbent upon us as a sentient species to use and to manage our environment wisely. To nurture it for future generations as well as cultivating it for our own benefits now. The fact is we have been blind, deaf and — for too long — dumb to the impact we, industrialised mankind, are having upon the world. The world is kicking back and still we baulk at giving it the priority it deserves.

Some of the key questions to be addressed and hopefully answered in Copenhagen include:

  • How and by how much will the developed world commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions?
  • How and by how much will the developing nations curtail there growing use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions?
  • How will the reductions be funded and by whom?
  • Who will manage the fund and how?

It’s unlikely we will actually get all the answers to all of those questions from the conference and negotiations, but we urgently need them. Just listen to what the UN, WWF and a host of other NGOs are saying; this is the last chance to change. Failure now will significantly impact our children and our grandchildren. Do we want to leave them that legacy

A legacy of a dying world. Sunlight that brings cancer. Oil reserves depleted to extinction. Mass deforestation. Rising sea levels that threaten not only island states but coastal regions of even the major developed nations?

We all know that that chaos would lead to political breakdown, international bickering on a grand scale and a war to end all wars. A war with our own world.

Already in the past week of G20 conferences, we’ve seen fine words dissipate. The pledge to reduce world-wide subsidies on fossil fuels produced not hard targets but weak ‘medium term’ rhetoric. Scant use that is likely to be in reducing a $300 blilion subsidy level that actively goes against the aims of reducing CO2 emissions.

Similarly the encouragement of China’s apparent willingness to negotiate reducing their increasing use of fossil fuels was cancelled out by US President Barak Obama’s submission that Copenhagen is unlikely to achieve its objectives. That thought further undermines the conference and the commitment that each nation ought to be bringing to the table.

Ideally every nation should come away from Copenhagen with an action plan. A plan tailored to the available resources that will move us inexorably towards a cleaner, healthier environment. Every nation should devolve that plan down to individuals, to me, to you, so that we all have practical steps we can implement in our daily lives that help move us closer to that global goal.

Climate change is not something that they can fix. It’s a battle we fight alone each day in the choices we make as commuters, as consumers, as decision makers.