The Skywriter

After Copenhagen: What's next?


After Copenhagen: What's next?


As you've probably already heard, our world leaders failed to deliver a critically needed deal to tackle global warming in Copenhagen. Their failure highlights more than ever the importance of our work together at 1Sky.

I just returned from a grueling two weeks in Copenhagen, where I filed video reports daily on the progress of the talks, and worked relentlessly with dozens of 1Sky allies to leverage our power here in the United States to push the Obama administration to help advance the negotiations.

Before the conference, you helped us push President Obama to join more than 100 other heads of state in Copenhagen when many people told us he wouldn't go -- and he stepped up to the plate and attended. Unfortunately, the proposals offered by the Obama Administration fell far short of what was required to secure the fair, ambitious and binding treaty the world so desperately needed after years and years of talk.

The hopes of grassroots advocates and civil society leaders worldwide for a treaty defining clear targets and timetables for dramatically reducing global warming pollution in Copenhagen were dashed, largely due to the fact that U.S. has yet to take bold action to tackle the climate challenge.

During the course of the negotiations in Copenhagen, you helped us drive thousands of communications to the White House and the Senate, insisting that the U.S. needed to redirect fossil fuel subsidies towards helping developing countries adapt to a rapidly warming world. And you helped us urge the Administration to increase its weak proposed emissions reduction of 4% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Thanks to strong advocacy from you and hundreds of thousands of people around the world, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would join others in securing a $100 billion annual fund by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change. Even more is needed, but it was a step forward.

Unfortunately, President Obama did not commit to do better when it came to our weak targets for reducing global warming pollution. And he pointed to Senate inaction on global warming as the reason.

So, our work is clearly not done yet. The science calls for much more urgent action than what we've seen to date, and President Obama acknowledged that in Copenhagen. Delay only benefits the fossil fuel industries that are reaping record profits while destroying our future. The longer we wait, the worse it gets: The International Energy Agency tells us that every year of delay in action to tackle global warming costs $500 billion.

We are currently analyzing the landscape and designing new strategies and tactics to redouble our efforts to press President Obama and the Senate to take bold action in early 2010. With your help, we'll continue to pressure Senators throughout the country, and we'll continue to pressure President Obama, who must step up to the challenge and join us in rallying the American public behind bold climate legislation if we are to secure a strong bill from the U.S. Senate early next year.

The silver lining in the Copenhagen cloud is that it is abundantly clear that the global community is awake and pushing their leaders hard to tackle climate change. More than 12 million people across the world, including 600,000 in the U.S., raised their voices for strong action leading up to the negotiations. It is now not a question of "if" we will act, it is a question of "when" -- and whether it will be in time to stave off the worst effects of global warming.

The 1Sky team stands united and more determined than ever to work with you in the coming year to secure strong U.S. climate legislation and a fair, ambitious and binding global treaty.

This rapidly growing global grassroots movement won't be denied. And we won't stop short of the real solutions that science and justice demand.

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