It’s been 4 days since the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen ended. The general consensus among those concerned about the future of the planet, and the impact of man-made emissions on it, seems to be that Copenhagen was a failure (see my posts here and here). Grist.org’s David Roberts has written a comprehensive discussion of the conference, Copenhagen: a look back at the most striking narratives, that is worth a read. He discusses why it is significant that it was leaders, and not their negotiators, that were “up in it” the last few days of the conference. He also looks at China’s obstructive role in the process, why the UN may not be the best place to advance this cause, and the role of the U.S. Senate now. He has this to say about looking forward from here:
“What came out of Copenhagen is nothing but a faint promise. To make it something real, much less what’s needed, will require intense pressure from civil society, elites, businesses, enlightened governments, and ordinary citizens. And guess what? If there is a robust, legally binding treaty signed in Mexico next year, with sufficient targets and timetables … intense pressure will still be required.
This will be a century-long fight. If the green movement is going to sustain itself over time, it might be wise to try to avoid the emotional roller coaster of “last chances” and “historic failures.” That’s a recipe for burnout. There will be no cathartic moment, no final breakthrough, only a war of inches won by sheer persistence and creativity.”
So, relax and enjoy the holiday season and bring in the New Year with gusto. Recharge your batteries (sustainably of course!), and don’t despair (that’s a luxury we can’t afford right now). There’s more work to be done in 2011!