2009: The year of Climate Change?
Sweeping away years of Bush intransigence, the arrival of Barack Obama in the Whitehouse has given new life to action on climate change. Unfortunately, however, many of the political difficulties that previously shaped the US position remain very much in place.
In a piece for the British Independent entitled ‘Review of the Year 2009: Climate change – The heat of the moment’, Tony Juniper, a well known U.K. environmentalist and General Election candidate for the Green Party, sums up the year in environmental terms. Juniper names COP15/Copenhagen, the loss of the honeybees (aka Colony Collapse Disorder) the reentry of disappearing rainforests into the public consciousness, vegetarianism as environmentalism and the concept of ‘natural capital’ as events or features that gave 2009 a climate change theme. The so-called climate ‘sceptics’ – or ‘skeptics’ if you butter your bread on the other side of the Atlantic – even get a mention, though he considers the Climatic Research Unit email leak at the University of East Anglia to be a last ditch effort of a vociferous few, which had little, if any effect on the Copenhagen climate summit.
Since Tony Juniper is a politician as well as an environmentalist, it makes sense that he is thinking and communicating in political terms ¬– and that his overall message is positive and hopeful:
I hope 2010 will see an intensified discussion about the kind of economics system we need to survive and thrive in the 21st century. 2010 might also see a stronger focus on the need to protect other ecosystems services. An international summit of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in the second half of the year should be a major focal point
by Graham Land