German Chancellor Merkel is ratcheting up the pressure on progress in Copenhagen, expressing concern that time is running out and no major agreements are yet in place. And now, the Pope has chimed in:
Benedict called on advanced societies to adopt "more sober lifestyles," reducing energy consumption and favoring energy-efficient policies. He encouraged research into ways to exploit solar energy, to manage forests and to improve waste disposal.
Action is more pressing than ever "in the face of signs of a growing crisis which it would be irresponsible not to take seriously," he said.
Noting that climate change, and resulting desertification, could push millions into poverty, hunger, conflict and displacement, the pope said: "All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development."
Governor Schwarzenegger meanwhile, in his speech at the Copenhagen Summit, tries to wrap a little sanity around how we should move forward (as a planet) to address the varying concerns over our climate:
Even if a deal cannot be done between nation states, he said cities and regions such as California are moving forward in transforming their industries and individual lifestyles.
And he offered to host a summit for “sub-national governments” such as California and London to make sure climate change is tackled on a regional level.
“I believe technology and economic focus will overtake the politics and regulatory efforts of national governments,” he said. “We are beginning on a historic great transformation, a new economic foundation for the 21st Century and beyond.”
He said the states like California are already moving forward. “We in California do not wait for Washington or Beijing or Kyoto . We are moving forward and making great progress.”
Schwarzenegger is on to something here...
He goes on to suggest that "[t]he world’s governments alone cannot make the kind of progress needed on global climate change, they need everyone working" and he is absolutely correct. Copenhagen is symbolic-a meeting of agenda-driven minds looking to gain something (or defend themselves against losing something) and what remains lost in the translation is the idea that we each, of our own device, are better able to address local concerns than we are qualified to dictate the actions of others that live thousands of miles away.
Despite the Pope's claims that rich nations must assume environmental duties, it is up to each of us individually to address our local issues. Those nations that cannot afford to do so on their own can seek out the assistance best suited to their local needs from their local neighbors and friends with more resources and a clearer understanding of their local issues.
William La Jeunesse is right: "[w]hile most of us won’t trust a weather report more than a few hours, scientists at the climate summit in Copenhagen expect us to accept their predictions for 100 years into the future."
For my money, and until we know more, acting locally makes a great deal more sense than breaking the backs of every major economy in the world based solely on the predictions of international weather men (and women).
[cross-posted at Speak Out For America]