COP15 Wrap-Up: Climate Deniers, Drowning Islands, and Hope after Copenhagen

cop15_logo_imgSea Change Radio surveys a broad spectrum of opinions and outcomes of the UN Climate Conference (COP15).  We hear excerpts from a press conference there featuring a Republican contingent from the US House of Representatives, a speech by Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia, and an exclusive interview of European Commission Deputy Director-general of Environment Karl Falkenberg by Sea Change Climate Correspondent Cimbria Badenhausen, who covered all 2 weeks of the conference on the ground.

The UN Climate Conference, or COP15, ended in the wee hours of Saturday, December 19, resulting in a Copenhagen Accord brokered by a “limited group” of countries.  Critics have slammed the deal for falling short of the commitments needed to curb catastrophic climate change, not to mention its disregard for the legitimate negotiation process by ignoring the voices of those most affected by climate change, such as small island nations.  While many blame US President Barack Obama,  climate journalist Mark Lynas published an eyewitness account of the late-night negotiations in the Guardian in the UK that places blame squarely on China for scuttling the more ambitious elements of the agreement.

Our survey starts at the far right with the deniers and skeptics – in this case, a contingent of six Republicans from the US House of Representatives, who convened a press conference on the last day of the conference.  They led off by citing what’s known as “Climategate,” or the publishing of hacked emails and data from computers at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK, widely considered the epicenter of climate research.   We hear from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), senior ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK); Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), ranking Republican on the House Energy and Environment Sub-Committee; Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), a member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Sea Change Climate Correspondent Cimbria Badenhausen asked the Representatives to go on the record with their stance on the cause of climate change — and its impacts on those most vulnerable.

The Republican Representatives seem to advance a self-contradictory stance.  They vehemently protested the science underlying the conclusion that human-genarated carbon emissions cause climate change, undermining actions such as the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill or the Copenhagen Climate Conference that intended to reduce these emissions.  Then they embrace the idea of carbon reductions that align with their economic visions.  So which is it?  If you can make sense of this, please comment below or on the Sea Change Radio Facebook Fan Page.

ApisaiIelemiaAlso on the last day of COP15, Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia held a press conference that started with a video documenting the impact of sea level rise on Tuvalu already.  The Prime Minister then gave a scorching assessment of the conference.  Despite that fact that the Copenhagen Accord had not yet been released, he could read the writing on the wall of the proceedings being co-opted by those with more political power.

KarlFalkenberg2Finally, Sea Change Climate Correspondent Cimbria Badenhausen spoke with Karl Falkenberg, Deputy Director-general of Environment for the European Commission.  She started by asking him about his ability to speak for those less empowered, and the conversation ended talking about the need to de-carbonize the global economy.

Thanks to our COP15 Series Sponsor The Cloud Institute, as well as financial support from The ManKind Project and the Institute for Nature and Leadership, as well as other individuals.

About Bill Baue

Bill Baue is Co-Director of Sea Change Media, a non-profit that makes connections in the shift to social, environmental, and economic sustainability. He co-hosts/produces Sea Change Radio, a nationally syndicated show that podcasts globally.