- From Bangkok to Copenhagen
From Bangkok to Copenhagen
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We are writing from Bangkok, where the latest round of international climate negotiations — intended to result in agreement by all countries to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — is coming to an end.
We wish we had better news to share, but unfortunately, little progress has been made over the last two weeks. The reason? The United States is standing in the way.
Usually, when someone says the fate of the world is at stake, it’s hyperbole. In this case, though, the fate of the world actually is at stake.
If people around the planet — and their governments — don’t agree on a solution to the climate crisis in the very near future, the consequence could be climate destabilization that produces droughts, famines, disease, storms and rising oceans that are catastrophic for human civilization.
Fortunately, it’s not too late, but if U.S. officials continue on their current course it soon may be. U.S. negotiators here in Bangkok have suggested dismantling the existing Kyoto Protocol and making pollution reduction targets voluntary1. These suggestions are non-starters. If we want to achieve a strong and fair agreement, we must make our voices heard today.
In recent weeks the dangers of climate destabilization, especially its impact on the developing world, became alarmingly clear, with a typhoon in the Philippines and floods in India.
We need leadership from the United States to ensure that something will be done before it is too late. Wealthy countries, as the largest historical polluters, must take the lead not only by reducing their own emissions but also by supporting developing nations (which have produced a lot less of the pollution causing this problem) as they work toward a more sustainable future.
Please tell U.S. negotiators to support the sort of strong, fair treaty that’s required to solve this problem. Demand climate justice.
Your allies on Friends of the Earth’s international team,
Kate Horner and Karen Orenstein
Writing from Bangkok
1 Vidal, John. US Threatens to Derail Climate Talks by Refusing to Include Kyoto Targets. The Guardian.