Climate Change: Common Ground

Climate Change, and the opportunity for common ground presented by COP15, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2009.

When we focus on common goals for our planet, we find common ground with people, communities and governments all over the world. When we agree to take action together toward our common goals for the planet, we may find other common grounds, we may find that when we start working together for one thing, other barriers, and differences may be overlooked and we may find ourselves learning more about each other, finding ways to agree on more and more issues that have divided us before. It starts with one common goal. If we find common ground, and walk together on it, we may find that the world we live in becomes — as well as more beautiful — more peaceful, too.

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No room for middle ground on climate change.

Climate Change. The left seems dead set for action to combat it, the right — not all, but enough to make a difference — have seemed set to defend our way of life as it is, regardless of how that way of life might be impacted by climate change. In Copenhagen, with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change December 7-18 2009, the stage is set for — some hope — the event that will deliver the result of either a: solutions that may set us on the right track or b: compromises that have little effect.

At the United Nations 64th General Assembly, September 23rd-26th in New York and Pittsburgh, many of the world’s leaders spoke at length on climate change, how it impacts their countries, or what their countries were planning to do to combat climate change. There were a lot of common ideas, common grounds upon which to move forward. It established a solid footnote to what may happen in Copenhagen.

More recently, follow up Climate Change conferences in Bangkok and Nairobi made further progress. The penultimate negotiating session before the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December wrapped up October 9th in the Thai capitol Bangkok with progress made on what needs to constitute the “bricks and mortar” of the Copenhagen agreed outcome, but highlighted a continuing lack of clarity on key deliverables to make a successful international climate change deal workable.

Will it be too little too late? Will the rich countries step up to help the developing countries develop ‘green’ solutions that can work for them? Will the hardliners of the world’s richest nations accept responsibility for footing the bill for developing countries to meet aggressive climate change goals?

This much seems clear: It is a momentous opportunity for change, one that should not be squandered nor ‘filibustered’ to death. We have all been encouraged to take action at every level, from shopping choices to the way we travel. Governments and businesses, too, must make that same effort. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘it starts with you.’ Well, the right action level on climate change has to start at the top. Citizens have been encouraged to live green for years. Now is the time for our leaders to take a leadership role in the defense of our planet. Help us preserve our planet and an environmentally responsible way of life by doing the right thing in Copenhagen. The following quotes from the 64th General Assembly all seem to point out the same critical nature of what we must do. As fellow citizens of the planet, we urge you to put forth money and achievable action goals rather than words and rhetoric about what could be.

Failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen would be morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and politically unwise. We cannot go down this road. - Ban Ki-Moon

The Threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing… If we fail to meet it – boldly, swiftly and together – we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe. - Barack Obama

At stake in the fight against climate change are the common interests of the entire world. – Hu Jintao

We are on the path to failure if we continue to act as we have. – Nicolas Sarkozy

If things go on as business as usual, we will not live. We will die. Our country will not exist. – Mohamed Nasheed (Maldives President)

What do you think? Will they do enough or will it be business as usual with a few concessions to appease both right and left? Have your say:

J.A. Davies – Contributing Editor