In early February, the State of the World Forum announced a decision to cancel their Climate Leadership Summit scheduled for this week in Washington because, in the words of Forum President Jim Garrison, “this is simply not the right time to convene a major conference of this kind in the nation’s capitol.” Because, as the conference organizers concluded from the lack of commitment in Copenhagen and events thereafter, “it would have virtually no impact on either the thinking or the agenda with which the U.S. Congress and the president are now engaged.”
Citing the “paralysis to which Washington has succumbed with regard to any action on global warming,” the forum has turned their eyes to other nations that might serve as more convincing role models in the quest to take the kind of urgent, large scale, meaningful action that the consensus of the scientific community deems necessary with ever-deepening alarm.
Forum President Jim Garrison elaborated his position in an exclusive statement to Triple Pundit:
“It strikes me that the net result of COP 15 was that President Obama brought to an end the era of the Kyoto Accords and the attempt to get the nations of the world to all agree on common goals, fair financing, and a realistic timeframe in reducing CO2 emissions. The only agreement to emerge seems to have been a commitment to share information, with each nation now basically on its own and free to set its own goals, timeframes, and standards. This means that particular nations can now set the pace and establish climate leadership both independently of and with each other. In orchestrating this, Obama might have been doing us all a favor. Perhaps it is time to allow the nations to find their own way with the common commitment to share accurate information.
“This runs the obvious danger of course of a slackening of the pace in addressing the climate crisis that is getting worse with each passing day, but since this seems to be the post Copenhagen reality, what is essential moving forward is to discern where the energy is and where climate leadership is emerging. The U.S. for the time being is paralyzed, especially with the recent election upset in Massachusetts, so while much action is taking place at the sub national level, the U.S. government will not be exercising leadership for the foreseeable future. The most dynamic climate leadership seems to be coming from Brazil and China — Brazil because it has made the boldest commitments by far to reduce CO2, and China because it is taking the lead in developing green/clean technology.
“As you no doubt know, (Brazilian) President Lula has recently signed into law a bill passed by a strong majority of the Brazilian Congress to reduce CO2 emissions by just under 40% by 2020, which includes a commitment to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020. China is treating the energy technology competition if it were an arms race. China is spending as much or more on greentech as it does on its military and hundreds of billions of dollars annually on renewable energy and grid infrastructure improvements. By 2013, greentech will account for 15 percent of the Chinese GDP. By 2020, China will increase its wind generating capacity twelvefold and its solar generation is projected to increase 20,000%.
“These two demonstrations of climate leadership are what I think most of us could rally around in the immediate aftermath of Copenhagen: we should all be setting as high of goals as we possibly can; and our greatest priority must be to create a climate economy and make radically develop clean green renewable technology and energy.
“In this spirit, we are moving forward with a 2020 Global Climate Leadership Forum in Salvador, Brazil May 27 – 30, 2010 being convened by the Brazil 2020 Climate Leadership Campaign, Globo TV, and the Roberto Marinho Foundation, sponsored by Braskem, and supported by the Government of Bahia State and the city of Salvador. The site of the conference will be an eco-resort on the Bahia coast built by Braskem as part of its campaign to plant millions of new trees in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. The theme of the conference is around green technology, eco-communities, and climate finance within the context of seeking to discern a post Copenhagen strategy of how to best deal with the climate crisis.”
As for those of us back here in the US of A, Garrison made note in an earlier statement of the tremendous work that was being done here at the “sub-national” level. “The fact that Washington seems incapable of action is actually an opportunity for traction locally in specific cities, states and regions. This is where the 2020 Campaign in the U.S. will focus its energy – supporting local initiatives and strategies. There is very significant work being done which inexorably will turn the tide.”