COPENHAGEN (COP15) AND CAP AND TRADE

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Why should you care about the meeting in Copenhagen?
 
United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC)
December 2009
 
Representatives of countries throughout the world have gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark to discuss the next phase of addressing global warming in 2012. In short they are picking up where the Kyoto Protocol left off. If you recall, in 1997 an agreement was drawn up to reduce greenhouse gases worldwide, country-by-country. The US would not agree to the terms without binding targets for developing nations. This position was taken by both the Clinton and Bush administrations with both presidents refusing to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification. This inaction was done for various reasons; biggest being it will hurt our economy while not addressing developing countries.
 
Organizations and US citizens were critical of the lack of response to global warming by the US, which was in 1990 responsible for 36% of worldwide emission levels of greenhouse gases. In 2007, the Climate Security Act bill (known as the Cap and Trade bill – a mere 500 pages) was introduced in the US Senate to address our greenhouse gas emissions. Again fear of negative economic impact and the bill’s complexity (loop holes) resulted in the bill being killed in June of 2008.
 
Fast forward to Copenhagen. There appears to be full agreement to set limits to greenhouse gas emissions, the controversy now resides with who is regulated (rich industrial countries as well as developing nations?). Cap and Trade is being discussed as a possible solution. I did not really have a very good understanding of what Cap and Trade was until I saw this video by Annie Leonard. I saw Annie Leonard give a presentation at Bioneers in October, 2009. Annie has been an environmental activist for decades and in late 2007 released the online version of the animated film, “The Story of Stuff” seen by millions. She has followed up with another animated film on Cap and Trade (see below).
 
Greenhouse gasses, specifically carbon dioxide are at an all time high of 387 parts per million (prior to the industrial age our level was 280 ppm). There is some consensus (and lots of disagreement) that to prevent environmental disaster we need to bring that number down to 350 ppm by 2020 (See 350.org). Some have suggested that the next UNCCC agreement will target 350 for 2050. That is too late! The issue here is what kind of world do you want your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to live in? We have an obligation to make the change now for the sake of the next 7 generations and beyond.
 
Learn more at these links and videos:
 
The Story of Cap and Trade:

 
The Story of Stuff

 
 
For more information and what you can do check out 350.org
 
For more information on our environment and the people that are making a difference go to Bioneers.org