COP15

Mon, 2011-12-19 05:58Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

The Climate-Media Paradox: More Coverage, Stalled Progress

For those of us who care about global warming, 2006 and 2007 felt like pretty good years. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for An Inconvenient Truth, sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Media attention to the issue soared, and it was positive attention. Given all the buzz, I—and many others—figured the problem was all but solved.

The next steps appeared deceptively simple. Elect Barack Obama, pass cap-and-trade, go to Copenhagen in the snowy winter of 2009 and take it global—or so I advised in Scientific American. I didn’t expect “ClimateGate,” or the dramatic consequences that an overseas non-scandal (for so I perceived it to be) could have for U.S. climate policy.

Nor did I imagine that virtually the entire Republican Party, rather than just some part of it, would come to reject climate science on this flimsy basis. I expected out-and-out climate change deniers like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe to be further marginalized, not mainstreamed.

Needless to say, I now look back on all this and shake my head.  Clearly, I–and many other people who felt the same way–was missing something rather big. We were far too optimistic in thinking that our governmental and media institutions were up for dealing with this type of problem.

Recently, a new book has helped bring the nature of their failure–and particularly the media's failure–into sharp focus.

Fri, 2011-12-09 19:48Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Speaks Truth to Power at Conclusion of COP17 in Durban

Perhaps the most powerful speech made in all of COP17 at Durban came at the very end, a statement by Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, who addressed the conference on behalf of the youth delegates.

Her scornful depiction of the utter failure of the international community to act on climate change - a failure chiefly owned by the largest polluting nations who have caused most of the damage to the global climate - is spot on.

Watch coverage of Ms. Appadurai's statement, courtesy of Democracy Now!

Mon, 2011-01-17 13:58Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Why We Need to Stop Calling Tar Sands Oil "Ethical Oil"

There are few terms in the Canadian vernacular that irk me more than “ethical oil”.  Since Ezra Levant’s 2010 book “Ethical Oil” hit the scene, it’s become the favourite language for government newspeak, and the media.  Worst of all, its given tar sands proponents and the Conservative Government fodder for their debunked argument that tarsands oil is good for us

Levant’s book looks at the ethical cost of our addiction to oil, and argues that Alberta tar sands oil is more ethically responsible than oil imported from despotic regimes in the Sudan, Russia, and Mexico, where human rights issues are of concern. 

Though neither Harper nor our new Minister of Environmental Destruction have read the book, the term was exactly what the Conservatives needed to bolster the much-maligned tar sands.  Prior to the echochamber that ensued after the publication of Levant’s book,  tar sands oil was often characterized as “dirty” and “controversial” - much to the ire of the government.

 Levant may well have learned the art of spin early in his career while spending the summer in an internship arranged by the libertarian and clean energy/climate change enemy Charles G. Koch Foundation, or through his work with the Fraser Institute.  Levant himself coined the term “ethical oil” in 2009 after being involved in a panel on tar sands oil.  The spin doctor finished the 90-minute debate having not managed to convince his audience of the merits of the toxic oil.  Without admitting defeat, Levant quickly realized that he was going to have to find a different way to spin the dirty oil apart from economic arguments which just weren’t resonating with people. 

Mon, 2010-07-19 19:39Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

ExxonMobil Gave $1.5M to Climate Denier Groups Last Year, Breaking Its Pledge To Stop Funding Denial Machine

ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million to climate deniers and industry front groups known for working to create doubt about global warming, attacking the integrity of climate scientists, and protecting the status quo for polluters, according to a front-page story in the Times of London today. 

Contrary to its stated commitment to stop funding climate denier groups, the Exxon funding spigot remained as open as the BP gusher, continuing to pollute the media landscape with oil-soaked misinformation designed to cripple international action on climate change.

Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets project has documented the nearly $25 million spent by ExxonMobil since 1998 to fund climate denier groups.

Exxon-funded groups used their latest infusion of oil money to create a media frenzy over the “Climategate” non-scandal and other efforts to derail progress towards an international agreement to fight climate change at the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen last winter.

Tue, 2010-05-25 17:56Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

UN Chief Urges Industrialized Nations to Release Promised Funds To Poor Nations For Climate Change Aid

Outgoing United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer sent an urgent message to wealthy industrialized nations on Tuesday reminding them about previous promises to help the world’s poorer nations to adapt to a changing world due to global warming.  Without a firm show of funds, he said the pursuit of a global climate agreement would remain a question mark for many as the December COP-16 talks in Cancun grow closer.

de Boer urged the industrialized nations to quickly present the $30 billion in aid they have pledged to deliver over the 2010-2012 period to help poor nations fight climate change impacts such as increasingly severe droughts and floods.

“Times are harsh, especially in Europe, but $10 billion a year for three years from all industrialized countries is not an impossible call,” he said.

Tue, 2010-04-27 15:50Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

World Continues To Wait On Climate Action from the U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate’s latest attempt to introduce climate legislation has been dogged with uncertainty and delay, continuing the worrisome trend of U.S. inaction to address the most critical issue facing humanity.

As word spread through Washington over the past few days that yet another attempt at a climate and energy bill appeared doomed to the legislative dustbin, the rest of the world continues to wonder if the U.S. is ever going to overcome its deadlock on climate legislation.

Thu, 2009-12-17 17:46Joanna Dafoe
Joanna Dafoe's picture

Did Fairness Lead Us Here?

One more day remains for negotiations at COP15 and the likelihood of breakthrough is now small.  The “fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty” many hoped for will most likely end up as a fragmented and ambiguous outcome.  I am left wondering about the political rationale that brought us here.

Thu, 2009-12-17 09:09Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

U.S. Chamber of Commerce declared a “Global Warming Crime Scene"

Hours before President Obama leaves for the Copenhagen climate summit, Greenpeace activists deployed an emergency response team to declare the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters a “Climate Policy Hostage Area,” and a “Global Warming Crime Scene.” 

Sun, 2009-12-13 04:44Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Mother Jones CopenPrimer

Anyone looking to understand the intricacies and implications of the Copenhagen climate summit would be well advised to start with David Corn’s introduction on MotherJones.com.

These meetings are generally filled with two kinds of people:

1. professional bureaucrats and NGO hangers-on who are so steeped in the process that they seem to speak a foreign and completely unintelligible language; and

2. Climate dilettantes who drop in to these events infrequently and struggle to understand even the most elemental aspects of the complicated architecture of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Corn, the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, seems to have spent enough time paying attention that he understands many of the finer points, and yet he has not forgotten how to speak a version of English that the uninitiated can still understand.

Sat, 2009-12-12 08:42Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Pachauri: Email theft a "recreational distraction"

The theft and release of the University of East Anglia emails is nothing more than a “recreational distraction” to the Copenhagen climate summit, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri said at a news conference today.

Yet immediately after he said it, another senior IPCC member said he believed that his colleagues have, from the very beginning, underestimated the potential effect of the email story on public understanding of climate science - and public support for action in Copenhagen.

Pachauri (or “Pachy,” as he seems to be known  among his friends) had called a news conference on the “Scientific Basis” for climate change. It wound up being a review of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, a reiteration of news that “the warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

The question (which I posed and which Pachauri did not answer) was whether the UNFCCC or the IPCC would have felt such a conference was necessary had the emails not been used so effectively to call the science into question.

Pages

Subscribe to COP15