Open Thread: What’s Your Take on Copenhagen?


Now that the UN climate summit in Copenhagen is over…what’s your take on what happened? And what do you think are the prospects for a binding global treaty to deal effectively with climate change? Sound off in our comments below — we’re listening!

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  1. Well, have you heard of the saying “too many cooks ruins the soup.” It seems like too many leader don’t get too much done.

    I applaud their efforts. It really is a great concept: the world’s leaders gathering for the preservation of the planet. It’s almost like something out of a movie.

    Although they made a step in the right direction, it seems like there is so much more that could have been accomplished.

  2. It’s certainly a disappointment, but it’s a first step in the right direction.

    If we step back and take a look at the long view, what’s necessary in order to get 192 nations to agree, and not think that this was the last chance to keep global warming at 2 degrees or less, we can pull some hope for future action out of the disappointment.

    Global polling shows a majority of people in countries around the world support government action to mitigate climate change, now there’s a international fund to support clean energy projects, and most of the major emitters have at least set reduction goals.

    It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. I hope 2010 will see US emissions reduction action, followed by international accord.

  3. I think the world at large still needs to be educated on the urgency of global climate change action. It’s as if everyone still has their head in the sand. Political pressure and financial incentives for emissions reduction are the only way to create renewable energy technologies and markets needed to combat climate change. Copenhagen was a wasted opportunity.

  4. I am impressed that so many nations are “coming together” in peace to discuss this issue. However, I feel they, like so many of our own civic and faternal organizations, are concerned at the conferance and don’t even think about it until the next conferance.

    I do notice that in your opening article, you do not mention blame on Homo Sapien for the climate change. He has never been able to control the natural cylces of the planet. We are in the beginning of another ice age and historicaly, we experience a warming trend, waivering weather patterns and then, the ice. Anthropology, Geology, Climetology, etc. have documented that fact.

    It would be nice to control our emissions. I’m an asthmatic and appreciate strides in that direction, but, nature will prevail, We should look at surving the next “big freeze”.

  5. Sharon, MA has made tremendous strides in water conservation (take the virtual tour of Sharon’s water resources at:, reducing town-wide water use by over 20% in just five years, which also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This success was achieved through public outreach, fixing leaks, and creative water rates (the more water you use, the higher the rate you pay). The cap set by the state, which is more than the town needs and not protective of the environment, played very little role in this process. I believe this example is relevant to the question of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  6. I think Nature Conservancy needs to stick to what it does best. Partner with local governments and BUY LAND. Stop wasting our donations on other politized causes where many other organizations are doing the same things already. let’s get back to our roots on this.

  7. I live up in Minnesota,
    One of the largest dinosaur fossils of T-rex was found only a few miles west of our state. The T-rex was a giant lizard and doesn’t do well in cold climates.
    Do you think this global warming could be the earth going BACK to where it should have been before the ice age???

    10 years in the past 100 years of a million years is not a trend…

  8. i agree with the person above this comment; if the nature conservancy buys land, that land belongs to them and the government is another business. the reason i support the nature conservancy is because human interference with nature is getting to strong- humans are destroying their land every second. although the members of the copenhagen meeting were sort of reluctant to take big steps, we can support those who do 🙂

  9. Climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenom. Climate does not remain static. Whether mankind is having any impact on the changing climate is debatable at best. Carbon DIoxide is not a pollutant but essential to life. As environmentalists we should focus our time and money on pollutants like mercury that we know harm life and focus on saving habitats via organizations like the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited. It is a good thing that Copenhagen was a bust.

  10. A key lever in geo-political economic control failed in Copenhagen. So, I took the carbon footprint calculator test. It finished and displayed the numbers, but nowhere did it indicate the footprint for my own resperation …..(breathing). I want to know what the ratio of co2 from my breath is to that of my consumer consumption. The world cannot agree to something that has not been fully defined.

  11. Copenhagen missed the boat as the climate crisis has many factors not recognized by the Copenhagen attendees. The Crisis has a number of factors beyond controlling the emissions from cars and power plants and reports several years ago indicated needing more than just control of emissions.
    First the heat energy being given off from using trapped energy in fossil and nuclear fuels keeps adding to the heat energy overload regardless of clean actions. This was pointed out by Dr. E. Chaisson of Tufts in a paper titled “Long-Term Global heating from Energy Usage” in EOS, Trans. Amer. Geophys. union, Vol. 89, No. 28, pgs. 253-4(2008). This says that we have to get to renewable energy as fast as possible and should stop wasting time and money on all programs for nuclear or fossil fuel use.
    Anothe problem worsening the Crisis is soot that recently was cited in note in Science, Apr. 17, (2009) pg 323 as causing 75% of Arctic warming. Recent media statements have implicated that soot is responsible for more than 50% of ice melting in the Himalayas’ glaciers. These other causes for the climate crisis have been ignored, even when several reports indicated that reducing emissions would not have much effect on getting control of the crisis.
    To get control of this crisis, we have to go negative carbon and energy. This basically means going backwards by slowing and then stopping the use of nuclear and fossil fuels. We can actually remove some energy and CO2 from their overloads in the biosphere by using pyrolysis to remake coai i.e. charcoal from our massive ever-expanding messes of organic wastes and sewage solids. Some renewable energy can be generated in the process and the charcoal can be used as a soil amendment. A couple of companies are setting up plants for testing pyrolysis and ought to be getting money being wasted on keeping nuclear and fossil fuel programs going. Dr. J. Singmaster

  12. The above post reminded me of another Cool Green Science post by TNC’s chief scientist, Peter Kareiva:
    Worry About Air Pollution, Not Just Climate Change

    Even if you don’t believe the current climate change issues are caused by us, aren’t many of the changes people are trying to make to stop climate change good for other reasons too?

    And as for the posters that think The Nature Conservancy should only buy land — what good does that do when the global environment changes too much? It’s naive to think that simply buying a piece of land is a way to protect it. And how do you buy a river? Or coral reefs? Or glaciers? How do you stop the pollution produced elsewhere from reaching that land?

  13. Bunkum

  14. I for one am glad that more was not accomplished. The only way to assure that the global warming issue is handled well is to minimize government involvement.

  15. Even problems that can be looked at as global in nature will be much better addressed by private funds and private organizations with private funding addressing local issues one at a time. Government programs to protect the environment will always transform into programs that license environmental destruction and shield companies from scrutiny by enabling them to hide behind compliance rather than environmental responsibility and disclosure of company environmental policies and actions.

  16. What happened to common sense?
    Conifer forests are the earth’s air conditioning. They are disappearing by the thousands of acres daily producing paper products and lumber.
    Minnesota pine was totally logged off resulting in the warming of the overall grounds and waterways which no longer can support many native species leaving a space for exotic species costing the government billions to control.
    No goals are set for replanting the pine and fir trees that were cut down. Deciduous trees are allowed to replace the conifers opening up the forests for the sun to heat up the earth early in the season. Northern Minnesota is a perfect example.
    Why hasn’t this issue been addressed?
    The other question I have is: “Why are we shipping our precious water supply down the rivers to the oceans?” How about a method of conserving our water to replenish our aquifers? I am working on attempting to teach our community water conservation with ponds, pools, and bog gardens. This may be small, but would be easily applied to large scale farming and developemnt.
    It’s useless to focus on clean energy when waste prevails in our forests and the natural evnironment.
    The summit in my opinion was a failure wasting more tax dollars and ignoring a good portion of the facts.
    Our politicians should heed their own advice.

  17. Once again, no one will address the core problem and the bottom line-too many people!! When will humans finally get the guts to say that we need to control the birth rates first and foremost?
    Politicians and global warming skeptics don’t get it that without decent air to breathe and clean water to consume, there won’t be life at all. It’s very simple-we can’t have anything-jobs,paychecks,families, etc. without the environment. Where is their common sense?
    Copenhagen was a step in the right direction, but I fear that it’s already too late. We’ve reached the tipping point because there’s too many people on the planet and there’s just not enough resources to go around anymore, no matter how many agreements and pacts are solidified. It seems very selfish to me that countries want to create and sustain jobs, but are not willing to recognize and act upon getting the birth rates under control. We must!

  18. Andrew Deutz –“However, the significance of convening nearly 120 presidents and prime ministers around the climate change negotiations should not be lost. Having the presidents and prime ministers of countries from the United States, Brazil and China to the Maldives and France sit down to negotiate on climate change means this issue has taken root as a core global issue.” What should not be lost is the possibility that developing countries are lining up for a share of the $100 billion annual windfall. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that climate change is their only concern.

    Eric Haxthausen – “The decision was helpful for the United States in that it provides a framework and context in which the Senate can move forward to pass a climate bill with the confidence that other countries will be engaged in reducing their emissions.” How much confidence is instilled by the Copenhagen Accord, a document that contains no specifics except for the amount of money to be distributed?

    The compromises required to secure a global binding agreement will yield a staggering price tag and produce little reduction in carbon emissions. The Kyoto Protocol has only enriched carbon traders and failed to produce measureable environmental benefits. The most meaningful development at Copenhagen seems to have been TNC’s effort on adaptation strategies and forest conservation.

  19. In my opinion, Copenhagen was an overall success in that we saw the United States finally join in the discussion as a major player. Having top US officials and the President attend the event gave me hope that our country will own up to its large part in creating environmental problems, and the even larger part that we can play in finding and implementing solutions.

    On London’s Guardian newspaper site, on a day when it looked like President Obama would not devote much energy to Copenhagen, a Brit commented that this was a shame because if Americans get fired up about an issue, they become a formidable force. This is such a true statement, and it was therefore heartening to see Obama rise to the occasion.

  20. The Nature Conservancy is becoming a political environmental activist group by endorsing the Global Warming Movement, in spite of its questionable relevance and major negative effect on our economy. For instance, the Conservancy supports Cap & Trade legislation and the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

    When I signed up for the Conservancy’s Legacy Program a couple years ago, the Conservancy had a noble charter – preserve large parcels of land by brokering deals between private land owners and government agencies. It should stick to that charter and let other organizations take up the climate change debate. I do not want my donations to benefit an organization that deviates from its intended purpose of land preservation.

  21. Copenhagen, it proves only 2 things

    1: we all live on planet earth, regardless of race and nationality what one country does (china) will affect the immediate climate of the american continent, what america does affects the immediate climate of europe, what europe does affects the immediate climate of the middle east and back to china why? global winds carry polution across vast distances, and deforestation will greatly inhibit the earth to regulate the atmosphere. global co-operation is absolutely necessary.

    2: politics needs to go away! countries have everything to gain and everything to lose. The United Nations will become the new Global Government. and the new World Bank is its treasury dept. no one will buy or sell without the money that it possesses. And no one will go green unless the UN places sanctions against the US and UK

  22. You know when there are this many politicians in one city nothing GOOD can come of it. Politicians want 2 things POWER and MONEY. Climate change is a natural process and it is arrogant to believe we can have a substantial effect on it. I prayed to God to show the world that Global Warming is a fraud and my prayers have been answered. SNOW in Copenhagen!?!? Record cold everywhere……. Thank You JESUS!!!
    The Nature Conservancy used to be a level headed organization that I could count on to find practical solutions to the loss of habitat. I am disappointed that the conservancy has taken to extremism with this matter. I do not want to be associated with the conservancy any longer. Everyone just recycle and conserve power it will save you money.

  23. I stopped contributing to The Nature Conservancy when they jumped on the Climate CRISIS bandwagon. This eco-religious movement is bad for the economy and bad for the environment. Increased CO2 concentration enhances our ability to feed the ever-growing world population. CO2 is not a pollutant!
    No scientist denies climate change – change is a constant. We don’t yet understand all of the the components involved in climate change, so how can accurate modeling be done?
    Conservation may be old fashioned, but it works.
    I would support a return to The Nature Conservancy’s old philosophy of buying land.

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