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What Should the U.S. Do to Prepare for Copenhagen?

After the U.S.'s failure to ratify a climate treaty negotiated in Kyoto in 1997, what are the key challenges ahead as the U.S. prepares for international talks in Copenhagen.

Posted by Washington Post Editor on October 1, 2009 1:52 PM

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (9)

oracle2world Author Profile Page :

China and India have both said they are NOT going to play ball and cut emissions.

So that's it. Folks can ponder this issue all they want in Copenhagen, but they are just wasting their time.

muawiyah Author Profile Page :

Whatever we do we should send only carnivorous people to Copenhagen.

As we fall rapidly into Ice Age conditions we're going to see the world's loss of it's grainbelts, and the reduction of the tropics to temperate climate zones.

There won't be enough food for the vegetarians to eat and they will simply die off to be replaced by humanity's standard model ~ the meat eater!

Since they'll be around and the grass eaters gone, we need them watching for our interests ~ particularly MY interests.

rmonroe1 Author Profile Page :

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

That quote from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" is becoming my mantra as I read inane comments like BigDog's and Pkhenry's. I could waste a lot of time explaining how their arguments are absurd but it will go nowhere. A healthier strategy is to look for things we can all agree on: 1. Even if there is no such thing as global warming, it would be in America's interest to get off oil. What better way to make Iran and Venezuela utterly irrelevant countries? What better way to declare our independence from Saudi Arabia and other terrorist farms? 2. Whether man-made or natural, climate is changing and unlike previous periods in history, we have to deal with it because the earth is covered with people clamoring for scarce resources. 3. Unless you're in love with smog, why would you be against clean energy? When the automobile came along a century ago, certain industries went by the wayside. Should we have protected those industries and hampered the spread of cars? Should we have stalled development of the computer to protect adding machine manufacturers? 4. Besides the political baggage of oil (terrorism, etc.), its delivery leads to a vast array of other problems (again air pollution, the occasional oil spill). Again, why not find a better way? 5. Companies that have made attempts to 'go green' in the last decade have generally been saving money through greater efficiency. Is there a problem with that? 6. Opposing better ways to capture and create energy is opposing the spirit of innovation at the heart of capitalism.
Fundamentally, I have trouble with people who passionately stand up for industries such as oil and coal that, almost by definition, do not care a lick for them. The answer has to be a search for common ground.

jasing3rd Author Profile Page :

The USA should step forward by calling for action far beyond the almost useless emission control bull that will do little. The two biggest factors in the climate crisis are soot that is trapping much more warming heat than GHGs and released energy from trapped sources. Those trapped sources are fossil fuels and the atom be it used for fission or fusion. A key paper by Dr. E. Chaisson on "Long-Term Global Warming from Energy usage published last year in EOS Tarns. Amer. Geophys. Union Vol. 89 No. 28 pgs 253-4,(2008) points out the effect of releasing more energy in the biosphere. Soot in a brief report in Science Apr. 17,09 pg 323 was indicated to be causing 75% of the melting of Arctic ice suggesting that it is a much bigger factor in GW than carbon dioxide.
I have pointed out in many blog comments(Google my name ) to steps that can be taken to get renewable energy and some GHGs removed from the overloads already in the biosphere by the use of pyrolysis on the massive ever-expanding messes of organic wastes and sewage. Several recent comments have called for getting filtering systems for soot, a much simpler way to get cooling than the synthetic tree proposal for trapping carbon dioxide cited in the recent Royal Society report on Geoengineering released last.Sept 1.
Actions to tackle soot and the messes of organic waste will have added benefits for reducing health and water pollution problems, and there won't be any uproar from environmental groups about disrupting natural things. Dr. J. Singmaster

A1965bigdog Author Profile Page :

We should NOT go to Copenhagen or anywhere else to discuss the human induced global warming hoax. The whole subject is a complete non-sequitur.

Consider this. The geological evidence is overwhelming that the sea level was once 20 feet higher than it is today, as well as 300 feet lower than it is today while accompanied by a 1 mile thick layer of ice across N. America and Eurasia. The Earth's climate is highly variable. Moreover, this variability has been going on for over 1 million years, and has been doing so without the help or hindrance of Man, GM, or Escalades.

There's more. The ice record from Vostok clearly states that temperature rises 800y years before CO2 levels rise. It sure sounds to me like the effect is happening before the cause, which says, there's no cause and effect relationship.

What it really sounds like to me is that there are a group of left leaning "scientists" with a chip on their shoulder and a political agenda to try and tear down capitalism. Not on my watch!!!


kbash33 Author Profile Page :

Two questions:

1. If the goal of Kyoto-style international political action is to slow or reverse global warming, why is progress toward achieving this goal measured in tons of man-made GHG emissions rather than in changes in globally averaged temperature?

2. If concerted international political action to reduce man-made GHG emissions fails to slow or reverse global warming, what is being done to prepare the United States and its people for the EFFECTS of continued warming? To put it another way, do we have a Plan B to fall back on when the scientific assumptions underlying government policies to stop global warming are belied by unchecked warming?

menelyik Author Profile Page :

The first thing to do is to select vegetarians to represent the US, because people who are well-read on the subject of "greenhouse gasses" know that the number one source of methane and carbon dioxide in the world today is cows. The second thing to do is to make sure that they pack wisely, with lots of warm clothes, that they understand how to dress for very cold weather. This is because the northern latitudes have been getting colder for the last three years, especially in Europe, possibly due to interruptions in ocean currents. The third thing to do is to make sure that they know how to start fires in adverse conditions (hopefully they have read Jack London),
because there are a number of "ideologues" on this planet who would like to prevent the generation of almost all electricity.

Or, probably the best tactic of all , quite a bit of fossil fuel-burning could be prevented if they just stayed home.

pkhenry Author Profile Page :

In 1975, climatologists wanted to put soot on the polar ice caps in order to avert the impending ice age.

From Newsweek, April 28, 1975

"Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve."

infrederick Author Profile Page :

Unfortunately substantial cuts are needed. Mr O'Keefe calls emissions limits "arbitrary". The best current scientific estimates of the effects from carbon emissions into the atmosphere indicate there is a limit of approximately one trillion tons of cumulative emissions that sets a limit which should not be surpassed. Beyond that point the harm, and economic damage, increases, probably in a non linear fashion, to the point that avoiding that future fate is worth vast current expenditures. It seems he considers analysis and decision making based on the best available scientific information to be "arbitrary".

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