Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sleepy But Still Saving the World

Jetlag began to wane by the second and third days here at the climate conference in Copenhagan. Not that anyone here would notice, since we're all getting 4 to 6 hours of sleep each night before trundling off each dark morning to more meetings and side events to negotiate how the entire world (even if the extremely unscientific Sarah Palin is dragged along kicking and screaming) can work together to save ourselves from ourselves. It will truly be a breath-taking achievement of mankind if we can make a dent in our man-made, heat-trapping pollutants and do so in a way that all countries see their economies improve and thrive.

On Tuesday, about 24 hours after I arrived, the first of two press briefings I organized went off without a hitch. With about 50 people in the room (about 15 or 20 were journalists, the rest were mostly from NGOs), the World Resources Institute's briefing titled "Essential Elements of a Copenhagen Agreement" was impressively led by our new climate director Jennifer Morgan. (WRI's last climate director was Jonathan Pershing, who now leads Obama's climate negotiating team.) Watch her and the other WRI panelists in action here. (The sign on the wall above them is my creation. I'll take PowerPoint lessons from anyone who offers.)

Jennifer outlined the major issues on the table in Copenhagen:
1.) How much will developed countries like the U.S. help fund measures (through institutions like the World Bank and UN) to improve the situations in developing countries like Tuvalu and the Maldives, not to mention Brazil, China, and India?
2.) How can forests be better represented in these funding measures, since unwisely-chopped-down forests account for about 15 percent of global-warming emissions? Right now, forests are more or less an afterthought when smart management could be a huge key that wouldn't take lots of technological wizardry.
3.) What kinds of technology, research, and education is needed to help poorer countries, the ones most effected by decades of pollution from rich countries, adapt to their changing climates?

OK, I'm getting wonky. This is supposed to be Pop Culture Lunch Box! It's 2 a.m. I better sleep for a bit.

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