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united nations climate change conference.

December 16

“it is time for the united states to stop seeing itself as a donor, and start seeing itself as a polluter, a polluter who must pay.  a polluter who must pay compensation and pay their debt.  this is not about charity, this is about justice

-indian environmentalist, Vandana Shiva

for nearly the past two weeks, countries from around the world have been in copenhagen at the UN cop15 climate summit, but for some reason it is being poorly covered by our press (probably because we weren’t even going to attend until our president was awarded the peace prize).  actions are weak, and tensions have been present in denmark since the talks began.  but as we come towards the end of the climate summit in, and not much has come out of it… other than:

countries from the African union walking out because they were being neglected during the talks

global superpowers (united states especially) refusing to reduce emissions more than poorer countries

the united nations failing to allow non-government agencies into the talks (despite issuing 45,000 passes to them prior to the summit, they claim there was not enough room for them all of a sudden, as they were escorted out)

special laws put in place by the danish authorities to arrest people on the suspicion that they might step out of line (see the movie, minority report to understand the dangers here)

secret documents being passed between top polluters, working to give more power to richer countries (based on GDP) and sideline the UNs involvement in future climate negotiations, it also allows richer countries to pollute nearly twice as much as poorer countries (if you click any link here, please choose this one, for a summit that worked to promote transparency and global dialogue, it is shameful that documents such as this are being passed around prior to negotiations, clearly working to prevent fair agreements from being made)

the concept of how to pay for polluting is something that many people don’t quite understand.  there are a few options that have been thrown around in the past few years: carbon tax and cap+trade.  below is a video depicting how a cap+trade system works, it is excellent in how it looks at the image from a critical stance, rather than a universal fix all solution:

what does all this mean for the future?  probably that the divide between rich and poor will continue to grow, and trusting global leaders to establish stringent goals is a previous form of change in the world.  the only way to guarantee the health of our planet for ourselves and future generations is to enact change on an individual level, think about each decision you make as it relates to the environment, and please be critical.  no one solution will solve the entire problem,  hopefully with our collective actions, we can get our planet back on track, one person at a time.

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