Friday, December 11, 2009

"Would you commit murder?": Copenhagen Time

Note for the 1(hi baby!)-1000 readers of Arob's View: My posts have been few and far between lately. I just became gainfully employed as a semi-permanent teacher's assistant sub in 6th grade special ed class (might lead to some interesting posts on the state of public education in poor urban areas, we'll see) and I'm applying to law school at the same time. Once the application process is over, hopefully by Christmas pending one more letter of recommendation, regular blogging will resume, probably more than normal. Between Copenhagen obstruction and the Afghanistan escalation I have a lot to comment on (and obviously critique)!

It's Copenhagen time, folks. What goes down in the next couple days or so will go a long way toward deciding how devastating global warming will be, and how much rich countries will help out the poor ones (especially in Africa and the small island states) that will bear the worst impacts.

It's ridiculous how little the American media is covering Copenhagen. Only the fate of millions of people and the capability of our planet to support life is at risk! Even the liberal blogosphere has been pretty mum on the subject.

Fortunately a few outlets have stepped up. The Nation magazine (a fine magazine by the way) has a couple journalists there posting updates on their Copenhagen blog here, including the great Naomi Klein. The Nation is cooperating with the Grist online environmental magazine, Mother Jones, and several other outlets in the Copenhagen News Feed, which you can see on the right side of The Nation's page.

Also the left-oriented Democracy Now! radio and TV show is broadcasting live from Copenhagen this week and last week. It's a great show hosted by Amy Goodman that runs on public television and radio across the country. She's getting some exclusive scoops from inside the conference, particularly from the climate justice perspective. So far I've enjoyed interviews with: Nmimo Bassey, the legendary head of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria (affiliated with Friends of the Earth International), the new leader of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo (known for anti-apartheid activism in his home country of South Africa), Gw'ichin representative Sarah James from Alaska, and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. It's clear how the climate fights is more and more about JUSTICE for the Global South, and I think the presence of so many anti-apartheid activists fighting in Copenhagen like Naidoo, the Archbishop, and even Nelson Mandela is illustrative of that phenomenon.

However awesome those interviews were, I most enjoyed Amy's interview of the 15 year-old youth representative from the Maldives (a Pacific island state), Mohamed Axam Maumoon, which I included at the top of this post. It's easy to be pessimistic about the climate talks. Especially coming from the Maldives, which will probably be under water before we realize how bad we've fucked with the global climate. He points out, as I quote in the title of this post, that allowing the climate tragedy to happen with at least partial knowledge amounts to murder of the people and cultures that will die as a result. Still, this young lad's spirits are high. He's so pumped about the youth summit and pleading his case to even the PM of Denmark. We in the US need to duplicate his resolve and match it with his realistic view of how drastically we need to change our energy productions systems to stave off disaster.

Let me give you the Cliff's Notes of Copenhagen from a US perspective for those who haven't been following: despite a new president, the US is still obstructing the talks. Not only are our emissions reductions goals for 2020 pathetically low, but our offer for climate aid to the Global South is ridiculously scanty. Let me be clear: the Obama administration does not get climate. They don't get how huge a problem is and they still won't acknowledge the massive climate debt we owe to the most impacted countries. 2008 Obama supporters need to wake up and realize that better than Bush is not sufficient on climate! (It's not sufficient on a plethora of issues, but I'll save that for another day).

Fortunately, the poor countries are fighting back as an organized bloc. We in the developed world, especially in our country, need to support them. I encourage you to get on the list of, Friends of the Earth US, and Friends of the Earth International and pepper the hell out of the administration with emails and calls on the climate talks. The message is clear: less emissions, more aid for developing countries!

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