So now we hear that President Obama is going to stop by the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, while he's in the neighborhood. I'm not sure how much encouragement to take from this fact. After all, by the estimates I've seen, what the US is going to take to the conference is a non-binding target by 2020 of 3% emissions reduction (based on a baseline of 1990, the year most widely used by other countries - calculating a reduction from 2005 levels is just marketing fluff).
If you believe that CO2 emissions reduction is necessary, then you pretty much have to believe that a 3% reduction doesn't cut it. And if you believe that CO2 emissions reduction is necessary, you're uncomfortable with non-binding targets (which smell a little like the non-binding self-regulation which worked so well in the financial services sector (NOT!)).
The good news is that, on the off chance that his predecessor had been going to Oslo while the conference was in swing, that predecessor (who shall remain middle-initial-less) would likely have stiffed the conference entirely. Maybe this guy's getting the Peace Prize for recognizing that the rest of the world (you know, 95% of the human race) exists as something other than patsies or enemies. Maybe that's enough.
But the potentially even better news is that you (yes, YOU!) have an opportunity to send your voice (allright, your vote) to Copenhagen. You can participate in a daily public opinion poll which has the potential to balance your government's lukewarm support for climate change action with a greater sense of urgency. This just in (via the Green Schools List) from Marian Brown at Ithaca College:
Want an easy way to become an active participant in the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen?
Ithaca College will be well-represented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15), being held Dec. 5–18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Twenty students from the International Environmental Policy course and their faculty advisor and five Ithaca College alumni will all attend the conference, at which world leaders will try to reach a new international agreement for combating climate change. Ithaca College is one of only a handful of academic institutions to be granted permanent observer status at these
annual climate treaty gatherings.
The United Nations has accepted the Ithaca College delegation’s application to offer a collaborative “exhibit” this year in conjunction with an interdisciplinary research team from Dickinson College. The group has created a social media and public polling service called the Public Opinion Polls of the COP15—“POPCOP15.” Each day of the conference, the students will post a single question on climate change to the public by blogging, twittering, e-mailing and obtaining responses in person, with the results displayed online and in a public exhibit space at the convention. With a goal of gathering one million responses per day, the objective is simple: to ensure that other voices are heard and widely held opinions are represented at the negotiations.
To participate in the daily POPCOP15 opinion polls, visit http://www.popcop15.com.
Gee, I wish someone at Greenback had been smart enough to think of that, or something similar. Don't know who that might be, of course!