Al Gore: ‘Who Are We?’
In an address to the conference just before high-level talks begin in Copenhagen, former Vice President Al Gore said the outcome will answer a fundamental moral question. “Instead of forthrightly addressing a mortal threat to the future of civilization, if we allowed this to fall into paralysis,” Gore argued, “the following generations would be justified in asking us: ‘Who are you?’” However, he concluded his speech by saying he believes that those assembled can rise to this test of leadership. “We can do it, we must do it, and as I have said many times, I believe political will is a renewable resource.”
Al Gore: Transparency Unlocks Paralysis
“We need transparency on both mitigation and financing,” Gore said. He called for oversight of both developed countries’ financial commitments and also of “pledges of mitigation from the largest global warming polluters in the world.” One of the most intractable issues at Copenhagen has been China’s adamant resistance to the United States’ unyielding call for outside verification of its emissions pledges. By recognizing that the developed world merits better oversight — particularly in the world of financial regulation — Gore may have found a pathway to resolve one of the thorniest issues stalling negotiations.
South Korea, Holland Take The Lead
South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak “pledged Tuesday to play a bridging role between developed and emerging economies to help them narrow differences regarding how to cut greenhouse gases and address global warming.” Lee made the pledge during a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister. South Korea has pledged “that it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by four percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels” — essentially the same commitment as the United States, even though its per-capita GDP is only 40 percent that of our first-world nation.
Last night, the Netherlands became one of the first European nations to commit to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, the central issue for developing nations, especially the most vulnerable to climate change. Linda Ijmker of Friends of the Earth Netherlands explains how Holland is taking the lead in an exclusive interview with the Wonk Room.
Leadership From Cities
State and local governmental leaders have been an untold highlight of the Copenhagen conference. Today, 80 mayors “from New York, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Copenhagen” and around the world “led city leaders in signing a resolution calling for ‘an ambitious and empowering deal’ on carbon-dioxide emissions cuts.”
At SolveClimate, Stacy Feldman reports on the new proposal for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD):
A deal is on the table at UN climate talks that would require poor nations to halt deforestation completely by 2030 on the condition that wealthy nations fork over $22 billion to $37 billion to jump start the plan, according to new text leaked today in Copenhagen.
However, the International Climate Action Network today gave the United States and Colombia one of its Fossil of the Day awards “for moving the process backwards on the REDD text.”