In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to discuss, and hopefully implement, a new set of regulations to confront global warming. However, this incredibly important meeting is on pace to be no different than any of the other world conversations about this issue, meaning a lot of rhetoric but little action.
Hopefully, and at this point it is still only a hope, China and the United States will serve as the world’s leaders of a new green movement.
Ideally, and at this point any ideal law is unlikely, the two biggest carbon emitters in the world, will move forward and attempt to reverse the detrimental effects that they and us have had on the environment.
A lot has been said this week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, from both President Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao, about each country’s role in serving as leaders in the fight against the climate crisis.
Hu told the U.N. that by 2020 China will increase it’s forest coverage by 40 million hectares (a slightly smaller area than California) and said that by the same year China would get 15 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels.
President Obama spoke about the responsibility of developed nations to enact changes for their benefit as well as under-developed countries, i.e. the countries that will be devastated the most by the rise of temperatures and sea levels.
Specifically Obama said the United States has made an investment to double the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in the next three years. In addition, providing tax credits to auto industries that are building batteries for hybrid cars as well as tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country.
We have heard most of this rhetoric before (however the bill that has passed the House of Representatives is highly effective and would be a historical piece of global warming legislation if it gets through the Congress, which does not seem likely given the current deadlock on issue of healthcare) but this time the rhetoric could turn into concrete laws enacted by the major powers of the world.
One thing that seems clear this time around, is that nations are at least serious enough to devote significant time, from many speakers, at the general assembly to the cause.
Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, increased the need to implement a new global strategy in the fight against global warming even though the odds are stacked against that goal in Copenhagen.
He wrote in the Sept. 29 issue of Newsweek, “It is a historic moment: the ultimate test of global cooperation. Yet the negotiations are proceeding so slowly that a deal is in grave danger.”
Brown would go on to add, “Failure would be unforgivable.” And that innovation “can be sustained only if governments back it – not just on a national scale, but globally.”
The rhetoric is there. An agreement from all parts of the globe seems clear: a global commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Now, everybody needs to remember this December meeting, remember what was said by all the world leaders, and hopefully Christmas will come early, and we will all remember a historical gift that saves the planet.
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.