There is an excellent set of interactive graphics regarding the agreements, such as they are, from Copenhagen. SInce it can be quite difficult to sort through the "word storm" to get to the essentials, these kinds of interactive graphics have great value:
Comment by: Steve Salmony (Jan-10-2010) Web site
The human family cannot keep recklessly overproducing unnecessary stuff, hyperconsuming and excessively hoarding limited resources, and overpopulating the planet as the leaders in our not-so-great generation are advocating so adamantly. Everyone in the human community appears to be implicated in the work at hand of finding a different way from the patently unsustainable "primrose path" set out by those who extol the virtue of greed and arrogantly proclaim that their greed-mongering is God's work. The most dangerous fraud consciously perpetrated in our midst is the widely shared perception that insatiable avarice is an inherent aspect of human nature. Unbridled greed may rule the world in our time but such behavior is contrived ..... a willful, foolish and selfish result of a consensually validated misperception of what is real about the nature of being human, I suppose.
Comment by: Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jan-10-2010) Web site
No, not a final answer David. An answer partly in jest, but it does worry me that those of us who have put the planet in such a parlous state now set about blaming others. It is rich people who have caused climate change and profited from it. By 'rich' I mean anyone who can afford a computer. Almost everyone on the Internet is rich by global standards.
Rich people live in every country. They make up the majority in the US and Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, but wherever they live they are the ones most blameworthy and most able to put things right. If your lifestyle requires 100 global hectares, then cutting back can make a great difference; more so than someone else who's lifestyle requires just 2 global hectares. If you have money you have more choices than someone with none.
As for China, India and other countries, I regret that they are developing in the way they are. But unless we rich people are prepared to take an enormous cut in material living standards - an 80% cut, perhaps - it would seem hypocritical to criticise the poor.
Comment by: City Worker (Jan-5-2010)
Let’s see. While we are pointing fingers, maybe we should look a little closer at just a few details and see if we are being fair. China has more than four times as many people as does the U.S, and they’re working furiously, consuming an ever growing amount of not even oil, but “dirty” coal. As a matter of fact, they’re number one, and the rate of growth of their consumption of coal is growing – so that they can “catch up” with the consumption per person of countries like the U.S.
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Jan-4-2010) Web site
William: to quote Regis Philbin, is that your "final answer"? Note to self: sterilisation is not connected with population...
Comment by: Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jan-4-2010) Web site
Population is not a problem in itself. People can be part of the solution to the world's problems, through their ideas and hard graft. Too often, however, they produce negative effects through excessive consumption. It is this consumption that is the problem: fossil-powered, carbon-emitting consumption.
Since the average American consumes 30 times more than a resident of the Third World, perhaps we should only allow certain nationalities to have children. I suggest everyone in Europe, Australia, Japan, Canada and the USA is sterilised. Sound fair?
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Dec-25-2009) Web site
Perhaps if we each learn as individuals to respect our own environments, and each other, we will also start to realize the responsibility to manage our impact as a society. At that point, there would be enough political will for government to come up with laws, education, and incentives that could lead to control of population.
Europe already has, I believe, close to zero population growth. So, it is not impossible to occur, and it is possible for other countries to change under the right circumstances. For me, believing that society will eventually respond to what is needed for a stable planet, it is a question of whether we learn enough quickly enough to avoid a very unpleasant state of overcrowding, hunger, overheating of the planet, and so on.
Comment by: City Worker (Dec-25-2009)
Yes, population control is an extremely difficult issue. I’m even surprised that China, even with its exploding, gargantuan population, managed to implement it. Most young people can’t see first-hand, such issues as global warming and the reduction of biodiversity. But they see having children as a natural and fundamental right and goal. Having children is a right and even a prescription in many religions and societies. And it is something that everyone around them is participating in and is – something that all those they admire is participating in. And, there are many, many more reasons to have children, which just about everyone knows about. Therefore, convincing people or a society to not have children would seem, to most, to go counter to the very fabric of nature, and to deny people of their most fundamental of rights and enjoyments.
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Dec-24-2009) Web site
It seems to me that all the goals proposed by the leading greenhouse gas producers are far too limited. The smaller countries, the ones that can not afford to deal with the droughts, floods, and food shortages of climate change, wanted more ambitious goals.
I believe that only a massive change in cultural values will allow all countries to begin meaningful change. There has been some precedent for such a change, however: the campaign against drunk driving demonstrably changed the public attitude to over-the-top drunkenness of all kinds, and especially changed the attitude toward drunk driving. This was accomplished with long-term, repeated advertising.
Perhaps a strong public education campaign would be the most effective way to get meaningful changes in all sectors of societies world-wide. A change in consciousness is needed before people will make the so-called sacrifices needed to keep the planet healthy.
Comment by: City Worker (Dec-23-2009)
I agree. The “population” word is something that isn’t addressed, by any means, as much as it should be. And population control, through peaceful, incentive-based means, I believe, is really a much easier and effective way to deal with things than “get[ting] enough wood to feed this growing bonfire”. And, it might end up being the only solution.
But turning to the Climate Conference: Although the U.S. isn’t doing enough with respect to reducing emission standards, and it has a lot more to do, it appears it’s record really isn’t that totally shabby, according to the Climate Conference chart (great charts, by the way) on “Emission Trends. Now things might have changed -- the data goes through 2007 – but it appears there are a lot of developed countries with worse records than the U.S. (Oh, another thing – I wonder why the change in CO2 emissions of the countries isn’t shown in a continuum, from the country that has increased emissions the most (China) to the country that has decreased emissions the most (Lithuania), rather than put the U.S. on the bottom.)
People are not speaking out loudly and clearly about the colossal threat that is posed to humanity by the skyrocketing growth of human population numbers on Earth.
Despite the unfortunate, inhumane ways a "ONE CHILD PER FAMILY" policy was implemented in China, the policy could be vital for the future of humankind and life as we know it in our planetary home. The immediate, free, universal and compassionate implementation of a voluntary "one child per family" policy could decisively limit adverse, human-driven impacts on Earth's body and its environs, and do so more powerfully than any other conceivable human intervention.
Given the already visible, converging global threats to human wellbeing and environmental health that are presented to the family of humanity in our time, the humane implementation of one child per family could be an indispensible centerpiece of a set of adequately designed, actionable programs that serve to actually rescue a good enough future for the children and coming generations.
If a root cause of the global threats on humanity's horizon now is the unbridled growth of absolute global human population numbers, our willful denial of this primary cause could make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the children to reasonably address and sensibly overcome these threats. Then the children are likely being directed down a "primrose path" to confront some unimaginable kind of ecological wreckage, the likes of which only Ozymandias has seen. The children will not understand why the catastrophe is occurring. Because their elders refused to acknowledge the best available scientific evidence of human population dynamics and, therewith, adequately "diagnose" the distinctly human-induced global predicament all of us face now, the children will not know what hit them, why it is happening, and what is required of them so as not to commit the same mistakes made by the elders.
This is only a guess but please note the likelihood that history will not be kind to the leadership provided by my not-so-great generation of arrogant, extremely foolish and avaricious elders.
My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.
Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.
I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.