7 Dec 2010

What do COP16, Al Gore & Grist have in common?

Written by Jim Pierobon

Answer: each is falling short of and/or pulling back in its bid to combat the harmful effects of climate change.

COP16 (the 16th meeting of the U.N. Conference of the Parties) is concluding its work in Cancun without accomplishing anything of significance to get the world’s major nation’s to agree on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Al Gore’s once vaunted “Alliance for Climate Protection” is a reducing staff and field operations reportedly to seven offices (down from 25 at its peak in 2008). Hat tip to POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn.

And this week the almost always pithy and entertaining Grist.com put out a fundraising SOS to keep its Seattle-based ship afloat on the Web amid the sea of climate denials. Says its weekly e-newsletter“Climate deniers, oil spills, pink slime. This kind of stuff is taking its toll on Grist founder Chip Giller. Our disheartened leader has even mumbled about ending it all. Has Grist made a difference in your world? Please show us (and warm Chip’s heart) with a donation of as little as $5.”

In 2008 on the eve of Barack Obama’s election to the White House, Gore launched a $300 million PR “blitz as sweeping and expensive as a big corporation’s rollout of a new product” (credit: CBS’ 60 Minutes) to help push a climate bill through the Democratic-controlled Congress.  There was credible hope that COP15 in Copenhagen could produce an outline of a global climate treaty and President Obama could cajole an energy / climate bill out of the Congress. And Grist.com was riding a tidal wave of interest and financial backing.

But that was then. And this is almost 2011. It’s difficult not to connect the dots on all of these levels and deny that combating harmful greenhouse gas emissions is getting a LOT more difficult — each week. And the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t begin work for another month.

How does the U.S. respond? On it’s own, it cannot anymore. What CAN make progress are initiatives by smart states and leading-edge companies. Collectively, THAT is where the needle will be moved. Check back here for the stellar examples.

Leave a Reply