Monday, December 7, 2009

Breathing Easier

Thank goodness the U.S. decided to announce a great step to step up environmental policy initiative just as we finish up in Copenhagen. Released today, the U.S. acknowledges that greenhouse gases are harmful and can be deadly to humans. This means that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can now monitor and limit pollution into the atmosphere without Congressional approval, which in the past was what held up the U.S.'s environmental action.

The news came as global climate talks got under way in Copenhagen, Denmark aimed at forging a deal on major emissions cuts.

The best part is that it helps to legitimize the Copenhagen Talks. Some news pundits, who clearly know nothing and yet influence a HUGE portion of populous, were beginning to speculate that the talks were failing since President Obama (who wasn't even supposed to attend, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was) is only attending the closing sessions. President Obama attending shows how important he feels this conference is.

After working on climate change issues with small island nations for the past two years I could not be more happy that this announcement was made. I am equally pleased with the bilateral agreements made between nations leading up to Copenhagen, such as the one between France and Brazil promoting more responsible logging and preservation of the Amazon and the rain forest. (The linked article, entitled, "France and Brazil joined forces on Saturday to press the United States and China to make significant concessions at next month's climate change summit in Copenhagen" is really interesting for any Poly Sci/ Env Sci geek. Please take a look if you have time.)

Of course, the Green movement has been going on for some time in France. I recently was reminded of this great music video from 2006.

SO, now that the U.S. is leading by example and developing countries like Brazil are recognizing their responsibilities to environmental protection and emissions... Well, India and China, the ball is in your court.

Photography note: The rain forest that is pictured is actually in Costa Rica, where I spent a summer working to protect turtles from poachers and help the MINAE forestry department preserve the Arenal Volcano Park. It's not Brazil, but I haven't gotten there yet. ;)

Thanks for reading and best regards,


Emily Norton said...

This article in WSJ was (surprisingly) right on target... basically saying-- there's going to be a price tag, quit arguing about exactly how much and start acting.