Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous | Greenspace Home | Next »

Obama dials for Copenhagen deal

President Obama will not arrive at the Copenhagen climate summit until Friday, its final day, but he worked the phones Monday to push world leaders to cut a deal on a new global-warming agreement.

“The president’s been very engaged on this issue,” Todd Stern, Obama’s special climate envoy, told reporters at the summit Monday.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed the calls to reporters in Washington and said Obama would stay engaged all week. “When the president picks up the phone and calls world leaders, I would define that as personally involved,” Gibbs said.

Stern said negotiators also are spurred by the simple fact that Obama and 110-odd other heads of state are set to arrive later this week. It’s a major departure from the last several climate conferences, including the Kyoto meeting in 1997, which yielded the first global treaty to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Those meetings were dominated by ambassadors and environmental ministers.

Bringing the top guns to town, Stern said, puts pressure on negotiators to hammer out their differences over the next couple of days. Stern said he hoped “everything’s resolved” for a climate agreement by the time Obama arrives Friday morning.

Sure enough, after an early protest by African delegates over the fate of the Kyoto treaty stalled talks briefly today, negotiators rolled up their sleeves for what could be all-night discussions.

“Everybody who’s got their boss coming is keen to have things in as good a shape as possible,” Stern said. “I don’t think it’s bad pressure. It’s just pressure.”

[Updated at 5:38 a.m.: The White House said Obama talked with Prime Ministers Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.

Here is how the White House described the calls:

"President Obama encouraged Prime Minister Hasina to help reach robust agreement at the Leaders summit later this week in Copenhagen. The President reviewed efforts by the United States on climate change and reiterated his commitment to making progress. He emphasized his desire to reach a pragmatic solution that encompasses action by all countries. For her part, Prime Minister Hasina expressed appreciation for the efforts of the United States and noted that 80% of Bangladesh’s 150 million people could be negatively affected by climate change. The two leaders agreed on the importance of working closely with the Danish Prime Minister to reach an appropriate agreement and of encouraging all developed and developing countries to play a constructive role. The President also expressed support for Bangladesh’s efforts to combat terrorism in South Asia.

"With Prime Minister Meles, the President reviewed efforts by the United States on climate change and reiterated his commitment to making progress. He expressed his appreciation for the leadership role the Prime Minister was playing in work with African countries on climate change, and urged him to help reach agreement at the Leaders summit later this week in Copenhagen. For his part, Prime Minister Meles stressed the importance of success in Copenhagen, and the need to find ways to make suitable progress on the mitigation, adaptation, and the provision of finance for the developing countries."]

-- Jim Tankersley in Copenhagen, with Christi Parsons in Washington

Comments () | Archives (3)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Letter opened to Barack H. Obama, who one more times comes to Copenhagen, Denmark. The first times October 2, 2009 now December 17, 2009 and again keep in silence over USA citizen tortured by the Danish police and hidden key evidences in court. Then, I decide to make public my letter to the USA president Barack H. Obama together with the Postal receipt to The White House. With this I establish that Barack H. Obama is accomplishing of CONSPIRACY. When Barack H. Obama keeps is silence to protest under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963. Article 36 (a,b,c) this letter was sent together to USA State Department Hillary Clinton and General Attorney Eric Holder. Mario Herrera, USA citizen. Passport Number 047884147. and in tweeter

Dear Jim and Christi:

As an organization that promotes Human rights, good governance, the protection of the environment, sustainable development, we would like to bring to your attention the abysmal environmental records of Mr. Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia. His policies and practice have brought about monumental havoc on Ethiopia's ecology.

We are disappointed that the African Union has selected and the Climate Summit has given an opportunity to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to represent the African continent. We believe that Meles Zenawi is the wrong person to represent Africa, since his policies are the causes and drivers for the incalculable environmental degradations currently taking place in Ethiopia. Under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s regime, Ethiopia is facing an ecological catastrophe: deforestation, recurrent drought, and desertification. Water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion are becoming alarmingly high due to Zenawi’s regime lacks both sustainable development plans and non-transboundary environmental policies. It is due to this fact that UNDP and other environmental organizations have been reporting about the alarming state of the ecological degradation in Ethiopia. Mr. Meles Zenawi’s colossal failures in environmental policies are highlighted by his regime’s land tenure policy and his relentless suppression of civil and economic rights. Millions of Ethiopians are exposed to periodic hunger and famine in part due to his regime’s land tenure policy. After almost two decades of Zenawi’s rule, in 2009 over ten million Ethiopians are exposed to hunger and malunitrition.

As is customary, Meles Zenawi’s regime has signed numerous international and environmental treaties that it never implements. To add insult to injury, Mr. Meles Zenawi even chairs Ethiopia’s Environmental Council. It is partly due to his control that the existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacks the political clout to discharge and enforce the duties and responsibilities vested in it. To those who pay attention to what is going on in Ethiopia, the story of the EPA’s feebleness is a direct byproduct of profuse lip service given by the regime of Zenawi about its concern for the environment-- as is the case about good governance, democracy, human rights, etc,. In addition, Mr. Zenawi’s hostile attitude towards Environmental NGOs - and civil society organizations, in general, has created enormous hurdles for those who want to mitigate the colossal environmental crisis facing Ethiopia.

According to the government’s own Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia has been losing up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year. In a very recent statement, the head of the same Institute, stated: “deforestation has continued at an alarming rate in several parts of Ethiopia as a result of illegal logging, deforestation and other human induced activities". Forty percent of the land covered by forest by the turn of the 20th century had gone down to 5.5% in 1987 and only 0.2% in 2003. If the current trend continues, Ethiopian forest covers would be extinct along with the loss of the country’s uniquely rich wildlife, fauna, flora, and a broad and general loss of its biological diversity.

The governance problem is one of the main causes of the environmental distress taking place in Ethiopia Soil erosion, which is linked with deforestation and Meles Zenawi’s land tenure system, continues to contribute to the drying up of the country’s lakes. Major Ethiopian Lakes such as Haro Maya (Alemaya), Adele, Awasa, and others have dried out totally. Acute shortages of water afflict major towns such as the city of Harrar and the capital city, Addis Ababa. As a result of the shortage of water resources, thousands of Ethiopians are affected by water born diseases.

The use of pesticides, untested and unfitting fertilizers, other toxic chemicals, some of them long abandoned by the industrialized countries, are now common in Ethiopia. The excess chemicals that are being washed off from the farms to rivers, streams, and lakes, are causing a plethora of problems including the poisoning of inhabitants, increasing algae blooms, and excessive plant growth leading to eutrophication, thereby making the water bodies and vegetation harmful to humans, wild and aquatic life and polluting the underground water. The level of environmental destruction caused by the chemicals used by foreign and party owned commercial flower farms and the leather industry is among the worst in the world. The environmental destruction and its hazardous impacts on human life and other inhabitants at and around Lake Koka, for instance, are captured by a few investigative reports and were televised recently by the members of the International media such as the Al-Jazeera Television Network and detailed by an eminent British Scientist.
Vehicular emissions in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, are alarmingly high. The presence of lead and sulfur in imported fuels, despite a ban since 2002, and the absence of emission inspection clearly indicate that the laws Zenawi passes only give lip service to clear and present dangers to the lives of Ethiopians.
Ethiopia’s government human right abuses and suppression of press freedom are well-documented, by Human Rights Watch; The US State Department Annual Report on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the New York based Center to Protect Journalist (CPJ), Journalists without Borders, and many other creditable international and regional human rights and press freedom organizations. The organization--Genocide Watch-- has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to initiate an investigation against the atrocities committed by the government of Meles Zenawi. Wide spread corruption also adds to the malaise of ordinary Ethiopians. Transparency International’s most recent report has ranked Ethiopia as 126th most corrupt country in the world.

Periodic ethnic conflicts in the country are destroying and weakening the institutions and these in turn are prohibiting the citizens and the NGOs to make informed decisions about the environment. The governance problem is one of the main causes of the environmental distress taking place in Ethiopia.

We believe that in an age of Globalization humanity’s interest, wellbeing, and destiny are directly intertwined. In view of this, we urge you to take tangible steps that include the following concerns of ours:
1. Mr. Meles Zenawi must be held accountable to the massive environmental degradtion in Ethiopia. We urge you not to ignore the environmental damages that the Zenawi’s regime has committed inside Ethiopia. For doing so sends a very bad message to all of us who care about the environment. Zenawi should not be rewarded for the seemingly non-transboundary environmental degradation he has brought to Ethiopia.

2. Emphasize the crucial roles of a representative’s records in environmental protection, social justice, good governance, human rights, and the rule of law that are important in shaping and averting Global crisis in climate change.
3. Ensure the appropriate use of any climate change financing package to nations with non representative leaders with bad track records on environment, human rights, good governance, and social justice by binding conditions tied to strict measures that would ensure that the funds would not be siphoned off by corrupt leaders such as Mr. Meles Zenawi and others in Africa.
4. Refrain from giving funds to a corrupt regime such as Zenawi as doing so would be a waste of resources and tantamount to committing the same mistakes that the world community has made during the 1983/4 Ethiopian famine when., as recently revealed by Zenawi’s rebel comrades, the food aid and money was used to build his Red Army. Mr. Zenawi will use the same international funds, as in the past, to keep political and ethnic cronies to continue suppressing the Ethiopian people.
5. Do not undermine the importance of social justice, good governance, human rights, and the empowerment of citizens, and their civil societies in shaping and in averting Global warming

We urge countries of the industrialized world attending the conference not to write a blank check and reward dictators, such as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who have abysmal records of human rights and the environment.

Advocacy for Ethiopia

The U.N. has conservatively estimated that to implement Kyoto-like greenhouse gas reductions would cost between two and three percent of “gross global output.” However, none of the proposed controls since Kyoto hold the promise (or even suggestion) of significant global greenhouse gas reductions -- at any cost. Climate crusaders acknowledge that a binding climate deal would not be done at Copenhagen -- no details of emissions targets, financing or technology transfer. Instead, efforts would be directed toward a two-stage process that would delay strict rulemaking for at least a year.
The first stage would attempt to get countries to contribute billions to a global fund to be distributed to developing countries to: 1) pay for low-carbon energy projects (carbon mitigation), and 2) pay for adaptation to the theoretically bad effects of global climate change ( flooding, crop loss, drought, refugees, etc). Note, that all of the predicted horrors of climate change are theoretical – unsupported by any empirical scientific data. Thus, the Copenhagen climate change enclave will extort “green guilt” money for the U.N. to hand out to favored tyrants in desperate developing countries based upon the fanciful belief ( a sort of "neo-paganism") that a manmade and existential warming apocalypse is occurring. As with many U.N. aid programs, these billions in climate change reparations will be used to prop up corrupt third-world tyrants; having little effect in improvement of the environment or in the lives of the suffering masses.
The climate crusade has become the central front in the war against capitalism.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent News
Invitation to connect on LinkedIn |  December 12, 2013, 9:58 am »
New Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary proposed |  December 8, 2011, 8:00 am »