How Late Is Too Late?
By Bergin Parks on 12/02/2011 @ 04:44 PM
The United States is the only nation on the globe where political leadership has failed to come to the consensus that climate change is both a real and immediate issue. There is debate as to what percentage of warming is attributable to human activity, but governments the world-over have cut through the rhetorical fat and at least agree that the issue requires attention. The implications of a warming planet are so daunting in scope and severity that punditry and partisan finger pointing in America is an unacceptable waste of time. The energy of our leadership needs to be redirected at constructive dialogue.
The 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change began Monday, November 28th in Durban, South Africa. Although the United States won’t have anything to do with the Kyoto Protocol, there remains an opportunity for this country to take a leadership role at the talks. At the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Convention the U.S. and other developed nations indicated their willingness to be involved in the development of a global climate financing system.
Poor and undeveloped nations with no energy economy or supporting infrastructure do not contribute significantly to the anthropogenic warming of the globe. America, as well as much of Europe and the developed world do, and have since around the time of the industrial revolution. The idea behind the climate financing system is that wealthier nations would pool some capital in a fund that could be allocated to poorer nations whose economies must grow in concert with their populations and subsequent resource demand. The pooled money would be divided proportionally among poorer nations to offset the expense of expanding infrastructure without using regressive fossil fuel technologies.
The following is a pre-inauguration speech excerpt from President Obama: “Few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. ... Once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change. Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”
It’s imperative that this pledge be brought to fruition. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produced a report on Extreme Weather and Climate Change shortly before the talks commenced. It provides sobering analysis of the implications of Climate change as a global scale issue. Please write a letter to the editor of your local paper, or any paper, and convey your concern. It is unacceptable for political posturing in this country to continue to endanger the quality of life of future generations, both here and abroad. The Durban climate talks represent a priceless opportunity to reshape policy, beginning with adopting a leadership position in the process of developing the Global Climate Fund.