In less than 3 weeks, I will be traveling to Copenhagen for the UN climate negotiations. Though I am thrilled to be part of this process, I find myself growing more and more skeptical about what will actually come of this gathering. Unfortunately, recent news has already revealed that heads of state, including President Obama, have already conceded that a final agreement is not do-able in the short time frame.
(click here for the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/world/asia/15prexy.html)
Instead of a fully drawn out agreement, leaders decided to develop a politically binding short term agreement that would set the stage for the future. But will this be enough? And what will the future look like?
The challenges that the process is currently facing are many and big – from the lack of action taken by the US to the differences between industrialized and less industrialized countries to questions about adaptation and financing – there is clearly a lot to be worked out.
Smarter people than I are speculating that the politically binding short term agreement will look at possible emissions reductions targets, while laying out ideas on mitigation actions for less industrialized nations. While these will be a helpful step forward to a future binding legal agreement, there is much concern in the faith community that it won’t be enough.
We are seeing the impacts of climate change every day in the worlds least industrialized nations. People are starving, natural disasters are on the rise, and families are being forced from their homes. We are called to seek justice – but will justice come from the Copenhagen conference? will the “politically binding agreement” put us on a path that can prevent the worst impacts of climate change and protect God’s great earth?
Unfortunately, I don’t know the answers and only time will tell. But I pray that something good will come of Copenhagen.
p.s. check back here for updates on what is happening in Copenhagen – December 7-18, 2009 – hopefully I will have good news to report!