Year 2, Month 12, Day 11: What Barbara Said

I wish we could clone Barbara Boxer. The LA Times:

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) stepped up Wednesday to deliver an appeal from Capitol Hill for action at the mostly lackluster U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which wraps up this week in Durban, South Africa. Her speech was delivered to an almost-empty Senate TV/radio gallery, which is indicative of the low priority given ongoing greenhouse gas treaty negotiations by the federal government and the media.

Audience shortfall be damned, Boxer soldiered on, registering her support for urgent action in Durban and beyond, and attacking climate deniers who have slowed progress toward reform. She and 15 other senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looking for a “strong and ambitious outcome” in Durban.

“Although I am not there with you in person, it in no way lessens my commitment to the work that you are doing in Durban and the importance of your mission to address climate change,” Boxer said. A text of the speech was also provided to the media.

“This massive threat to the environment and human health that is posed by climate change requires us to put aside partisan differences, to find common ground and to demand immediate international action.”

Statesmanship. How weird is that? Sent December 7:

Senator Boxer’s impassioned address on the urgency of the climate crisis is an all-too-rare example of long-term thinking from a member of America’s political class. Most senators and representatives cannot imagine anything beyond the political exigencies of the next election cycle and the concomitant financial requirements of their political campaigns. This has brought us a government obsessed with trivia and symbolism but unable to focus on a genuine existential threat.

For the United States and the rest of the world’s biggest carbon-burners to postpone meaningful emissions reductions yet again, they’ll have to disregard mountains of scientific evidence linking human activity to the greenhouse effect, along with the increasingly accurate predictions and urgent warnings climate specialists have been making for decades. If we are to survive as a nation (indeed, as a species), we have to get our attention deficit under control — and address climate change realistically and vigorously. Now.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 8, Day 20: Nothing To See Here. Move Along, Folks.

The August 3 Chicago Tribune reports on low expectations for the upcoming Durban conference:

WELLINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Major climate talks in South Africa at year-end will be unlikely to strike agreement on a new pact, but will be important in determining the shape of
long-term efforts to tackle climate change, a senior U.N. climate official said on Tuesday.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing U.N. plan which obliges about 40 industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012, is widely seen as under threat. Japan, Canada and Russia have said they will not extend it, while the United States never signed up to it.

La de da de da de da de da….

Sent August 3:

How low our hopes have fallen! The international community is still meeting in Durban to address the complexities of climate change — and while nobody expects anything to actually, you know, happen, the good news is that representatives of the world’s nations will all be there mouthing platitudes at one another. Given that the overwhelming consensus of the scientists who actually know what’s going on with the planet’s climate is that runaway climate change poses a civilizational threat to our species, this diplomatic dithering is a pathetic substitute for the concerted worldwide action that is necessary. Eventually, of course, we’ll learn that they’ve agreed to a template for developing a process to organize a protocol for establishing a framework for beginning negotiations on the elements that need to be included in a new emissions treaty to replace the Kyoto Agreement. And that will be our good news for the day.

Warren Senders