December 2, 2009
The countdown to Copenhagen began in earnest over the last week as the U.S., China, and India announced new emissions targets and other actions in a coordinated campaign to heighten expectations about reaching a global climate agreement that, in President Obama’s words, have “immediate operational effect.”
Meanwhile, opponents to climate action coordinated the release of a stolen cache of private email messages from a prominent climate science research unit in England. The perpetrators of the break-in have not been identified, nor is it known precisely when the hack job occurred. But the public release of the email conversations by scientists, designed to draw attention prior to the start of the Copenhagen climate conference, has attracted global cherry pickers who’ve taken snips of thoughts, strung them together, and sought to raise questions about the validity of the scientific consensus about the causes of a warming planet.
It’s an old axiom in public interest campaigning that you know you’re winning by how irresponsibly your opponents behave. The world is steadily marching to a logical conclusion to melting glaciers, drying global food bowls, intensifying storms, rising sea levels that are chasing islanders from their homes, and weather weirdness of every sort. Leaders of nations as diverse as China and India, Australia and the United States, Brazil and Spain, and more than 180 others are in agreement that significant measures must be taken to cool the planet and heat up the global economy. The decision by the Obama administration last week to announce formal U.S. emissions reductions targets, followed by equally significant measures taken by China and India are evidence of how seriously the world views the warming threat. That is why delegates from 192 nations, heads of state from 65 countries, and tens of thousands of climate activists from all over the world are on their way to Copenhagen.
The hacked emails, which follow last summer’s fraudulent letters to Congress, are powerful evidence of the understandable fear in the fossil fuel industry, and the allies they handsomely finance in government and the media, of the clean energy transition that is now unfolding worldwide. Deceit is now the global brand of those who oppose climate action.
Transition is the narrative of our time. Arguably no story of change is more important than the work to scrub the skies of climate changing pollution. In the struggle between grievance and hope, hope is winning.
For those of you on the way to Copenhagen, and also for those not going, check out our Copenhagen Climate Negotiations: The Briefing Book, a compendium of what you need to know and expect at the COP-15.
Until next week, take care, Keith Schneider