Reasons for Optimism on Climate Action | Michael Northrop

Michael Northrop
Program Director, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

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Posted: 01/08/2014 9:42 am

Climate champions, think how bad things were this time three years ago.

Copenhagen’s failure in 2009 still stung. The U.S. Senate hadn’t even mustered a vote on its version of Waxman Markey. Numerous leadership states were moving backward on climate after the November 2010 midterms. The Obama Administration seemed poised to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline. And worst of all, after the failures of 2009-10 and the phony East Anglia climate-gate brouhaha, mere mention of climate change had become toxic politically. With no one naming it, climate had all but vaporized as an issue in the U.S.

Fast forward to today and the picture has changed considerably.

First off, U.S., greenhouse gas emissions are declining. They are 12 percent below 2005 levels, and national emissions have fallen every year since 2008.

As a result, the U.S. is within striking distance of President Obama’s 2009 pledge to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels.

The downturn in emissions means there is a decent chance that the U.S. will arrive in Paris for the next major international climate conference at the end of 2015 on track to fulfilling its reductions commitment, a pole position that should give Obama considerable leadership chops with other heads of state.

Some of the reduction in emissions has been the result of the downturn in the economy, but it’s the other reasons that are especially interesting.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

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