As 2008 comes to a close and we take a look at the year in review, we reflect on the year that has passed and begin to think about the future. There have been many climate change-related headlines over the past year, from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative holding its first two auctions, to global representatives meeting in Poland to discuss climate change, to global warming as a major issue in the most publicized U.S. election in history, and more. As this exciting year in climate change comes to a conclusion, we look forward to the major (and minor) events that will take place in 2009. This week, ClimatePULSE will take a look at the top 3 climate change headlines to watch for in the upcoming year.
1 – Barack Obama takes office
Climate change was a key platform during Obama’s election campaign in 2008 – will he follow through and take swift action in 2009? The current year has not yet come to a close and Obama is certainly on pace. During the climate change summit held in November in California (attended by governors and foreign officials), the president-elect addressed all attendees to commend their attendance and reinforce his stance on global warming. Since then, he has assembled a cabinet so full of competent experts with a focus on climate change that the group has been dubbed the “green dream team “. As with any other political promises, the “seeing is believing” approach is best-taken, but Obama has set aggressive, yet realistic, goals that will require early action. Regardless of whether Obama takes no action at all, follows through with his expected plans, or takes a more aggressive route to combat climate change, the new president’s actions (or lack thereof) will most certainly be one of the top climate change headlines for 2009.
2 – How will with struggling global economy affect climate change action
Climate change initiatives will, without doubt, be affected by the economy and in many different ways. Funding for GHG projects with high capital expenditures may be increasingly difficult to acquire, but the attractive return-on-investment offered by GHG projects may help them to be one of the few investments able to secure financial support. Nationally, Obama has provided assurance that the United States will “engage vigorously” in climate change talks when he is president, despite the current economic situation. “Engaging vigorously”, however, may require significant financial investment and one must wonder if those finances will be available in lieu of the previous bail-out for the financial sector and the current bail-out for the automotive industry. However, climate change may be a saving grace for the economy, as a major shift towards reducing greenhouse gases may create millions of jobs across the country (and world).
3 – UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
The biggest climate change event of 2009 will almost surely be the UN Climate Change Conference. As the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, the 2009 conference in Copenhagen will be the final meeting for UNFCCC parties to meet and develop/renew a climate change agreement. The Kyoto Protocol has been instrumental in bringing global warming to the forefront, but a new and improved global strategy will be needed to take the next step. Participation is the key and this event is expected to be attended by representatives from over 170 countries with the intention of agreeing upon GHG reduction goals for the years to come. This is a crucial time for action against climate change and the results of this conference will play a major role in how global warming will shape the future.
Without a doubt, 2009 will be a very exciting year in terms of climate change. Major events will take place as we will get a better understanding about the future of global warming on Earth. It is unlikely that the three headlines listed above will be on a list of the “top 3 headlines for 2009” a year from now as unexpected events will surely take place, but as long as they are replaced with headlines such as “New Plug-In Hybrid Cars Hit the Road” and “Breakthrough Technology in Renewable Energy Generation”, we’ll be happy.
ClimateCHECK is a greenhouse gas (GHG) management services and solutions company. The firm’s solutions support all facets of the carbon commodities market, including the verification, validation and consultation of GHG inventories and program portfolios, as well as quantification protocols for emissions reduction projects and clean technologies. ClimateCHECK is a sponsor and co-founded, with World Resources Institute and Carbon Disclosure Project, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (www.ghginstitute.org). Founded in March 2007, the company has locations throughout North America. For more information visit www.climate-check.com