It’s 70 degrees and sunny outside. The only problem is that it’s December and I live in Northern Virginia, where it’s supposed to be winter not spring. That’s why no matter how beautiful the weather is, I can’t enjoy it because it’s a stark reminder that climate change is here and now.
Yet, on the other side of the globe, the US government is once again derailing climate negotiations at the United Nations Climate Conference, this time in Doha, Qatar. I’m not savvy enough on climate change to lay out the details myself, so here’s a great summary from Greenpeace about US intransigence so far at the climate talks:
The US stands out as a culprit against progress on most issues and the self-righteous claims rattle hopes. The US delegation continues to argue US commitments on finance and pollution reductions are both sufficient and being met. On climate finance, the US continues to block debate on how to fill the Green Climate Fund, which is meant to support developing country efforts. We have seen an aversion to even agreeing to discuss how to increase ambition on emissions targets.
On issues where the US needs to invest little political capital at home, the US has blocked debate, for example, on how to establish common rules to account for pollution reductions. Common accounting rules are vital to understanding if collective efforts are enough. The US also remains a top blocker on negotiations to provide additional short-term financing for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). REDD stands to address 20% of global emissions.
It is not in the national interest of any country to allow catastrophic climate disruption. The hard bargaining, the specious evaluations of domestic progress, and the foot-dragging must stop.
I don’t understand how the Obama administration can continue to act as an obstacle given the increasingly rapid pace of rising sea levels and temperatures, melting ice caps, droughts, floods and monster storms. A new study by the Global Carbon Project warns that if carbon emissions continue to increase, global temperatures could rise up to six degrees celsius by 2100. Scientists say anything above two degrees celsius spells disaster. Nevertheless, the US government remains more invested in securing the future prosperity of fossil fuel companies than the planet that serves as a home to over seven billion human beings.
It’s now clear that anyone who thought Obama might take a more progressive approach toward climate change during his second term was sadly mistaken. And the corporate media is no better as they’ve failed to even acknowledge that there’s a climate summit happening, preferring instead to saturate the airwaves with talk about the so-called “fiscal cliff”, which is nothing more than a pretext to argue for deep cuts to earned benefits like social security and medicare.
Democracy Now seems to be the only media outlet reporting from the climate negotiations, proving how vital a resource independent media is. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s 70 degrees during the winter time and the US government is committed to keeping the world from doing anything about it.