Monday, November 18, 2013

Climate Change- Following the Warsaw Climate Conference

  The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change/19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19)-- aka the Warsaw Climate Change Conference opened on November 11th, 2013 in Warsaw, Poland and has entered into its second week of negotiations.  The Warsaw Climate Change Conference is  scheduled to end November 22nd, 2013 and is racing toward a goal to create a roadmap for a  globally binding climate change agreement in 2015.

As global emissions are increasing, the challenge is to have significant  agreements in creating a draft plan for next steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to be refined at the next  major conference. This would be the  20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP)  to the UNFCCC and is  expected to take place in December 2014 in Peru.
We are depending on governments to reach agreements. Yet, with business leaders and carbon polluting companies standing in the way, the participation of  civil society -- NGOs, trade unions, faith-based organizations, indigenous peoples movements, is  key to moving these goals  forward. But we are all consuming and contributing to the problem. And we argue over who needs to cut back on consumption behaviors.  We are all to blame in the ever  entangled web of a global economy. And as we argue- Climate Change does not care who is to blame. Climate Change is now an equal opportunity disaster.

Judith Stephenson, Susan F Crane, Caren Levy,and  Mark Maslin recently published their study: " Population, development, and climate change: links and effects on human health" ( The Lancet, 2013). Their findings conclude that it is not population that is driving climate change but consumer behavior. See details at:

How do we change the engine of consumer behavior that is driving climate change? Can we realistically expect governments to do that?  Climate is a public good. According to the UNFCC “With climate change it is the emissions of all sources in all nations that determine the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. As a consequence, the climate change problem is inherently a public goods problem. “  (see

 The dilemma that plagues the COP talks is clearly evident. How can Governments convince corporations and all people to change their production and economic practices and  consumption behavior and  patterns. It is individuals that are at the crux of the problem!

Our global markets and trade continues on steeped in oblivion as the problems associated with global warming increase. Who is to blame?  This is a question where we all need to take responsibility for addressing. As we complain about our governments, our governments are left to operate in a void with the engines of market economics gone wild.  It is up to both consumers and governments to stop this  runaway train of materialism.
Agenda 21, a program of action that was agreed upon  at the The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro in 1992) called for  the “developing of  national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption patterns”.  Yet, global trade is still increasing as more goods are demanded and shipped around the planet. Our appetites for stuff and wealth is creating stresses on the eco-systems and the world’s climate.

With the gap between the wealthy and the poor increasing  each year- here in  the U.S. and around the world--is it wealthy individuals that need to change how they acquire and accumulate their wealth??

 Greed exists at the top. How much wealth does an individual need? As individuals at lower levels and at the bottom struggle to cope -- land prices increases, housing increases  and costs of basic goods and food  increase. Meanwhile there is a grand disregard across the board for the health of ecosystems, and oimpacts on clean water and clean air.
(According to the U.S. Census Bureau Report of 2011, “the nation's official poverty rate in 2011 was 15.0 percent, with 46.2 million people in poverty.”
We need address this  grand accumulation of and holding of wealth and of land access and development by the few  as well as consumption and production patterns by the many.
path towards a globally binding climate change deal in 2015 with the publication of a proposed roadmap for countries to consider. - See more at:
path towards a globally binding climate change deal in 2015 with the publication of a proposed roadmap for countries to consider. - See more at: