Year 3, Month 12, Day 6: Please Don’t Wake Me, No Don’t Shake Me, Leave Me Where I Am, I’m Only Sleeping

The Detroit Free Press reports on the bad weather we’ve been having recently:

DOHA, Qatar — An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the U.S. melted this year, according the United Nations weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening “before our eyes.”

In a report released at UN climate talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, the World Meteorological Organization said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the U.S. as well as western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering.

But it was the ice melt that seemed to dominate the annual climate report, with the United Nations concluding that ice cover had reached “a new record low” in the area around the North Pole, and that the loss from March to September was 4.57 million square miles — an area bigger than the U.S.

Meanwhile, in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

DOHA, Qatar – The United Nations climate chief is urging people not to look solely to their governments to make tough decisions to slow global warming, and instead to consider their own role in solving the problem.

Approaching the half-way point of two-week climate talks in Doha, Christiana Figueres, the head of the U.N.’s climate change secretariat, said Friday that she didn’t see “much public interest, support, for governments to take on more ambitious and more courageous decisions.”

These two were referenced in a letter to the DFP, sent November 30:

It’s a sad irony that at a point in history where our planetary environment is becoming completely unhinged, our governing institutions have almost entirely lost the capacity for meaningful action. The same week that the World Meteorological Organization confirms that 2012 has been a year of record-breaking weather extremes all over the world, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres comments that she doesn’t perceive much public pressure “for governments to take on more ambitious and more courageous decisions.”

The problem is as simple as it is intractable. There’s no shortage of public pressure on the world’s governments. In the past four years, millions of people have signed petitions, made phone calls, written letters and marched on behalf of responsible climate change policies. But these citizens have less influence on our public sector than a single signature — on a massive campaign contribution from a fossil fuel lobbyist.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Warren Senders

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