The climate talks that began earlier this December have come to a conclusion on Friday December 18, 2009. The topic of discussion was how to address climate change from a global united perspective. Over one hundred and ninety nations participated in the event and the results have been mixed from the expectations many countries and environmental groups had going into the conference.
The talks were stalled as countries began to take issue with various procedural and substantive differences of opinions, but with the intervention of the heads of states that arrived on Thursday evening there has been a movement. Four nations have come to an accord, amongst them the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases: the United States and China. The other nations were India and South Africa.
The agreement was a compromise that was brokered between the heads of state in late afternoon and night sessions. It is unclear whether this agreement will be ratified by the rest of the nations at the conference, but the leaders of the four agreeing nations called it an important step.
The agreement called the "Copenhagen Accord" in essence renews the Kyoto Protocol and also sets targets for global temperature to only increase by two degrees Celsius. The other major parts of the accord are financial with aid going to developing countries to invest in more climate neutral technology and preservation.
Progressives and environmental activists have hailed the "Copenhagen Accord" as a victory although a very small one. Many advocates against climate change feel as if the accord does not do enough to combat climate change since most of the accord is on a voluntary basis. The agreement sets temperature goals and a financial buy in that is disproportionate to the countries' greenhouse emissions.
Others see this agreement as a major step forward as the United States for instance was not ever on board for the Kyoto Protocol when it first came into being. The proponents of this agreement say that the mere fact that the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, the United States, getting on board even for a voluntary climate control mechanism is a major change in policy.
The way forward for those concerned with climate change is to get involved with local and international non governmental organizations that focus on environmental issues. The way forward is not only focusing on individual actions such as recycling, but to change the way that business is done in the United States.
Government action can only be effective if the representatives and senators feel the pressure and support from their constituents. So, get involved with local government. Write your representatives and congress people, get informed about climate change and what you can do to lower your own carbon footprint. Educate yourself and follow what is happening in the decision making centers of the world.
For more information you can go to the website of the Conference itself here.
For more information about climate change in general you can go here.