The Copenhagen Climate Treaty talks start next week on Monday, the 7th of December, a day that already lives in infamy but now awaits a new nom de plume.
At the end of the first week of those talks, people all around the world will take to the streets of their communities to hold Candlelight Vigils for Survival. We’ll be holding our South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action community’s candlelight vigil in Hermosa Beach.
The reason we’ll be out there is because we know that we’re the ones responsible for President Obama deciding to go to Copenhagen and that we’ll also be the ones who help convince him to lead us to a real deal that gets us to 350ppm.
We know he heard us on October 24, and we’ll make sure he hears us again on December 11. We know he needs our voices to drown out the Greenhouse Gas Gang who are freaking out because when we cut emissions we cut their profits.
The “Survival” these candlelight vigils are talking about is the immediate survival of the countries most vulnerable to global warming – who can’t afford any further delays on action, and the survival of our own civilization for our kids and their kids – who likewise can’t afford any more delays.
In the past few weeks the news about the Copenhagen talks has taken climate activists like me on a roller coaster of highs and lows. The first headline said the talks were already a bust before they happened when it was announced that no climate agreement would be reached no matter what in Copenhagen. Punting the ball was the new goal.
Then came the good news that President Obama would be going to Copenhagen and he’d be going there with a new plan to cut US greenhouse gas emissions.
Too bad the President wasn’t going to be in Copenhagen when all the other world leaders were planning on being there. And too bad the cuts in GHG emissions he was coming with were wimpy and far too low to get the job done. And while the rest of the world was offering cuts from 1990 levels for some bizarre reason the United States offered cuts from 2005 levels – no doubt to make them seem better than they are.
But many will tell you it’s a big deal we offered any specific target for cuts at all and that after we did that’s the reason the Chinese then made their own announcement about slowing their own emissions growth. They aren’t the cuts we need to get to 350, but it is the first time the Chinese are moving in this direction at all.
None of us are going to be happy if these initial negotiating positions wind up being the final numbers – but I don’t think they will be, especially not when the impact of our candlelight vigil is factored in.
What I know from my long experience with negotiations is that the pre-talk period is the time when everyone stakes out their initial offers and tries to make them sound like the very best they can do. But those are only the starting points and that’s when the deal making begins.
So I’m not taking the President’s 17% cut from 2005 as anything but his first low ball offer – same with the Chinese. They’re going to have to, at minimum, match the EU pledge to cut greenhouse gases by 20% below 1990 levels over the next ten years. The EU’s offer is even stronger than that. They’ll increase their cut to 30% below 1990 levels if other countries come on board.
The science is clear and conclusive on the fact that rich countries like ours must cut greenhouse gases 25-40% by 1990 in order for us to avoid catastrophic damage that we will not be able to recover from. You can dance all around that and bullshit if you like but you’ll still be dead wrong.
The people who argue against us making these emission cuts – the oil, gas and coal industries – are the people whose products are the mortal enemy of our climate. They will say and do anything to keep their morally bankrupt gravy train of death rolling along. So will their mindless supporters and ball washers. For some of them it’s strictly a matter of politics.
They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in sinister propaganda designed to hide their global warming guilt. Every single day our newspapers are filled with full page color ads, and our TVs are broadcasting commercial after commercial that lie about the global warming damage they’re doing and the responsibility they bear. No wonder the media tells us so much about Tiger Woods and reality TV “stars.”
So I MUST be out in the street with my candle, and my friends and neighbors, and the other members of my community who are not dupes or stooges or anybody’s suckers.
We’re smarter than that. We know more than that. And we’re not afraid to stand up to the bad guys who are willing to sell our children out in exchange for more money in their pockets.
Our candles and our strength of character trumps their billions and the corrupt core of their eternally doomed souls.