Friday, November 27, 2009
Once billed by some as the most important meeting in human history, the global climate meeting set to begin in Copenhagen in a little over a week is failing to live up to the hype. The major political leaders have been simply thumbing their noses at science with commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions falling way short of the mark as pointed out in an Associated Press article. So far Obama has pledged that the US will reduce emissions by a paltry 17% from 2005 levels by 2020 and the leading global warming polluter China will not agree to reduce emissions at all but only to reduce “carbon intensity” which refers to emissions per unit of production. We know the jig is up but still the politicians pretend that it isn’t, that progress will go on and on. Americans can continue to enjoy affluence if they are just willing to pay about the price of a postage stamp a day more for electricity. Hundreds of millions of poor Chinese will continue to be lifted out of poverty as hundreds of millions have before them and same for the struggling poor of India, even though some critical resources are growing short as the world population balloons toward 9 billion and the evidence that climate change is much more serious than the scientists thought only a few years ago seems to grow almost every day and it appears that climate change could threaten civilization itself. So it turns out we are not going to be saved at December meeting in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 after all. And in fact it turns out we are not going saved period. Darn!