Thursday, December 17, 2009

Learning from Past Mistakes: Involving Congress in COP15

Map of Countries who ratified Kyoto Protocol (Green) as of June 2009
Looking at the map above the big Red Country shows as a major road block in the Kyoto becoming a viable solution to Climate Change. In most people's opinion the source of the road block back in 1997 was the lack of Congressional involvement in the negations. Today and yesterday we seen congressional participation in Copenhagen.

Senator John Kerry delivered a powerful speech bringing "America to the right side of History". In his speech he talked about the "synergy" that COP15 and the US Congress can have. He pushed for progress in Copenhagen as a way to break the grid lock in the US Senate. He also showcased the amazing amount of work that the US has done in the development of Green Energy in the last 8 months through the Recovery Act.

Kerry also took a jab at Dick Cheney, referring to the One percent doctrine. Cheney famously said after 9/11: "If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response." John Kerry used this illogical to push the case for a Climate Change Legislation and American involvment in Copenhagen. Saying that the nearly 100% chance of climate change and it deserves a response.

In addition, the House of Representatives Delegation held a press confrence where they showed strong support for an agreement. They also spoke of a Green Revolution. Like the Industrial and the Technology revolution, they predicted that the Green Revolution or Clean Tech will create jobs, wealth, and development while making "Climate Change something our grandchildren will have to look up in history books." While Copenhagen has so far eqauited an agreement with saving the world from environmental disaster, the US congresses's spin of a potential agreement spurring a green revolution and creating jobs, technology, energy independence, and sustainable development is a message broadly appealing and should have been the tone of the conference. This approach is not only effective argument, making the agreement "really about jobs", it is also the best approach to reduce green house gases. Senator Kerry also echoed this in his speech through talking about "unleashing the free markets to solve the problems of climate change".

Copenhagen can still be a success through focusing on climate financing, sustainable development projects, and technology research. Through making Green Tech cheaper and more reliable the finite fossil fuels, a real solution to climate change can be reached. Each country's geography is different, and their solution will be different to climate change. Making a centralized plan will not make a long term difference. Financing projects, conservation, and research, coupled with a market based applications can have a greater impact then arguing over emission caps.

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