Friday, December 11, 2009

Obama, Copenhagen, and Tracking Systems

The other day Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize and while there, "Norwegians were incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit." Instead of analyzing it myself I am going to let two people speak for me;

Darrell Irwin of the Star News, writes a very flowery and interesting piece about Obama comparing him to the likes of Archbishop Tutu, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Before Obama's presidency ideals mattered and, in Oslo, the president announced that actions mattered. He stated that "meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago." It is apparent that our intensified war in Afghanistan, a response to the 9/11 attacks, have replaced peace as an ideal with action. Today, Obama's tone resembles more Teddy Roosevelt and less Jimmy Carter.

On Democracy Now, the new head of Greenpeace was interviewed regarding the Nobel Acceptance Speech;

"I think the speech spent too much of time on justifying war, too little time looking at the root causes of war, and, in fact, the one—just only one passing reference to climate change and, in fact, this big summit taking place here." -the new head of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo

He goes on to explain, rather well, the connection between Climate Change and conflict. As the Climate changes and resources such as potable water and livable spaces become scarcer conflicts rise. Kumi also goes on to express further disappointment at the lack of discussing Copenhagen and the roll America is to take there.

So lets talk Copenhagen, first, Climate Debt.

Climate Debt is the concept that Developed Nations (First World) owe a first world and developed countries "owe the world" for the pollutions created during their development and that these debts should be used to assist the development of third world nations.

At Copenhagen they are gathering reparations from nations in payment for this "Debt" to assist current developing nations in curtailing the climate problems.

Later on the show, Amy Goodman, brings shows Todd Stern who is the Climate Change Envoy, this is what he had to say about it.

    TODD STERN: I actually completely reject the notion of a debt or reparations or anything of the like. I mean, let’s just be mindful of the fact that for most of the 200 years that—since the Industrial Revolution, people were blissfully ignorant of the fact that emissions caused a greenhouse effect. This is a relatively recent phenomenon. So I think that’s the wrong way to look at this. We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting the emissions in the atmosphere up there that are—you know, that are there now. But the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations, I just—I categorically reject that.

I understand the argument that the sins of the father do not always or should not always fall to the son, but we must recognize that we are one world. And if we can buffer the effects of National Development then livelihood of all humans will be so much the better. We need to get past the concept of isolationist because the Climate is affected by global

By bolstering developing nations in a safe way, we prevent a horrible situation in the future. Perhaps it is a question of marketing; if the funds that were being collected for investment in green growth in developing nations was called "investing in the safe future of our climate"
would it be more attractive than "reparations" perhaps it would be more palatable.

Also if there was a something with a little more bite and openness to it. If we knew EXACTLY how this money would be spent and what would happen if it wasn't, then I would take it more seriously.

Finally, really quick, I want to mention two cool things; 1. A little more on Gosat (the CO2 tracking satelite) and 2. the google deforestation map.

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