The Life Antarctic: Thoughts On Copenhagen

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I’m sure many of you followed the events that took place in Copenhagen recently, when the U.N. convened the largest ever conference on global climate change, with some 190 nations attending. The 11-day event met with very mixed results and ended up being about compromise and posturing rather than making any real commitment to improving the environment.

Jon Bowermaster has sent another dispatch from the Antarctic, where he weighs in with his thoughts on the Copenhagen Conference, while sitting aboard a ship passing through the icy waters off the coast of the continent that is probably seeing the most dramatic changes.

Jon was getting updates via the Internet, and like many of us, was dismayed by the end results. But to throw an even darker shadow over the proceedings, he attempted to discover the “carbon footprint” of the conference, and came to this conclusion:

1,200 limousines, 140 private jets, 15,000 delegates, 10,000 environmental activists and lobbyists, over 100 world leaders and 5,000 journalists. According to summit organizers the 11-day conference, including the participants’ travel, created a total of 41,000 tons of “carbon dioxide equivalent,” equal to the amount produced over the same period by a U.S. city, population 225,000.

For a meeting on the environment, it sure seems like they didn’t think about their impact on it while organizing the event.

I know that there were a lot of politics involved in what went on in Copenhagen. China and India led a walkout of the developing countries at one point, as those nations feel that remaining environmentally conscious will stunt their economic growth and prevent them from making strides at industrializing their countries. This ended up leading to a series of compromises that took much of the bite out of the final documents.

Meanwhile, Jon reads about the results of the conference and wonders why more couldn’t have been accomplished, as he sits in a place that is ruled by a treaty signed by many nations, and is a symbol of how countries can work together.

Kraig Becker

1 thought on “The Life Antarctic: Thoughts On Copenhagen”

  1. We can blame the little countries for saying that this will help development, but you must also blame the developed nations. We use more per capita and we are already developed.

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