Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not the climate change I was hoping for

Reclaiming Medusa on Facebook for linking to this post at by Naomi Klein. As I write this, the Unites Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has been teetering on the brink of failure. In order to get the conference moving again, the Obama administration -- in the person of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- is pushing to seriously weaken the Kyoto Protocol in return for the financial assistance poor countries desperately need to cope with the effects of climate change that they've already suffered.

This offer is being spun very differently in the mainstream media -- for instance, see this version of the story in the New York Times. In that version of the story, the US offer of aid may save the climate talks from failure, by forcing developing nations -- including China -- to be more "transparent" about its level of carbon dioxide emissions.

The official UN home page for the conference has cross-posted this article from the Associated Press, noting that President Obama is extremely unlikely to promise any significant reduction in US emissions of greenhouse gases.  Western European nations will likewise be unwilling to make serious cuts in their own emissions. Developing nations have called on western developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions at least 34 percent from their 2005 levels by 2020.

The situation puts a person in mind of the debate here at home over healthcare reform. Once again, the Obama administration will try to achieve a cosmetic change and then repackage it as substantive progress.

Lucinda Marshall of Reclaiming Medusa also has a blog called Feminist Peace Network, on which she has posted this interesting and comprehensive set of links to news and analysis about the climate change conference.

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