Change is Never Easy

Yes, that title is a platitude, but an apt one. As the batons fly through the air raining down on hippies in Copenhagen, It’s seems a good time to discuss the (non) movement of the climate change negotiations in Denmark.

The U.S. is locked, it seems, with China (surprise, surprise) on the level of commitment both countries need to agree to for carbon emissions. Now, I believe President Obama is a wise and sympathetic man, but he is unable to move legislation through the antediluvian innards of congress, ultimately leading to minor emission cut agreements by 2020. Meanwhile tiny island nations nobody has heard of (Tavilu?) are preparing their scuba gear because they’ll be underwater in ten years.

Crass comments aside, it is time for America to set (and enforce) real standards that poorer nations and those developing, can follow. Yes, it will hurt the economy in the short-term, and yes it will not be popular with voters but there isn’t any choice. What will be painful initially, will also move to encourage new domestic markets, like solar energy, to blossom over the next decade and hopefully eclipse dying ones. These will create new, and hopefully, sustainable jobs.

This isn’t just an issue for the wealthy west. It was reported in the press, that 80 or so developing nations had a walk-out at one point in the conference, feeling they were “being talked down to” by the G8 crew. Surely there isn’t time for this sort of hubris and ego to cloud the issue at hand. Another massive sticking point is, of course, trade. Both China and the U.S. want legislation to favor domestic products and NO BARRIERS for international exchange. Both countries have to accept realistic limitations.

The cynics feared that nothing would be accomplished in Copenhagen, and perhaps they’re right. But, there is always next year and the year after and the year after and the year after…