Sunday, December 12, 2010

COP16 Wraps Up in Cancun

Another year of international climate negotiations wraps up as the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) concludes in Cancun, Mexico.  There was much less hype around this year's meeting than there was about last year's COP 15 in Copenhagen, and while there was no big, binding agreement, most reports indicate that solid progress was made, and importantly, faith in the process was restored.

Kate Sheppard's recap on provides a great, quick review of the highlights and outcomes.

What's discouraging though, is that in the US no one really knows - or cares - that this process is happening and how important it is.  Below is a total bummer of a video showing a "people on the street" view in the country responsible for the vast vast majority of global emissions (particularly when you look at cumulative emissions over time, and the fact that most of China's emissions go to support stuff for us) are completely unaware of what's going on.

Vested interests here in the US (again, the location of the activities and demand for goods responsible for the vast majority of the world's emissions) continue to fight for the status quo and successfully confuse the issue to the point where it's no wonder most people don't get the information or just block it out.

Still, progress continues to be made and there are positive signs - the R20 initiative is mobilizing sub-national government action, the ACUPCC is demonstrating the higher education sector's leadership, is raising awareness and building an international grassroots movement, DeSmogBlog is uncovering the climate cover-up day-in and day-out to help people identify and see past the disinformation campaigns, the newly announced Open Climate Network will bring transparency to measuring nations' progress on climate action, ICLEI is helping local communities reduce emissions, RGGI has put a price on carbon in the Northeast, and much much more.

But it's all just early steps in terms of where we need to be to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption and to weather the impacts that its already too late to avoid the best we can.  Staying up to speed on the policies and solutions, and continuing to diligently support all of the parts solution - large and small, from calling senators and signing petitions to installing LED lightbulbs and geothermal heat pumps - is critical if we're to be successful.

Stay going.

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