By Kevin McCann
Why it matters:
This is it folks. Monday marked the first day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Denmark. The UNC4, if I might coin a phrase. Wait, C4, that sounds dangerous.
This Monday, the 7th of December marked day one of the two week UN Climate Change Conference. Delegates from around the globe are gathering in Copenhagen to discuss climate change, and hopefully hammer out an effective solution.
The success of the conference will depend almost entirely on the will of the member nations to right our current path, and it's clear going into the meetings that some countries are more committed than others. To most governments, climate change and climate action are not black and white issues. For some, short-term financial implications are weighing heavily against meaningful action (the US and China, for example). For others, the short-term consequences might mean Armageddon… The Maldives, a small island archipelago nation in the South Pacific will undoubtedly be the first to succumb to rising sea levels. On our current path, the nation would likely be flooded by the end of the century.
The recent British email "scandal" has been a topic of some debate leading up to the conference. Thankfully, member nations are paying it little, if any credence, preferring instead, to focus on the proven scientific evidence: There is a greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases are dangerously high and rising at an unprecedented rate, this rise is strikingly paralleled by the rise of human industrialization.
But keeping score on the events in Copenhagen isn't like watching the Civil War on ESPN (DID YOU WATCH THAT GAME?! WHEW!). Or is it? Climate Interactive is a system developed by MIT that allows policy makers to see in real time the mitigating (or not) effects of possible policy changes. The simulator is being used by the U.S. and several other delegations for the UNC4 (actually, I do like it). In fact, you can even use it. Like, now. But those brainiacs have taken Climate Interactive one step further, and created the Climate Scoreboard. A daily (or hourly) check of the scoreboard will quickly illustrate the progress being made (or not) in Denmark, and a click of the "Log of Scoreboard Changes" will show you just what's moving the chains.
But what can you do to help in Copenhagen?!