December 18, 2009
Posted: 04:13 PM ET
Obama took part in third multilateral talks with world leaders and scheduled a second side meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
The U.S. president earlier told participants at the two-week conference nearing its end that "there is no time to waste" in forging an agreement.
"Now, I believe, it's the time for the nations and the people of the world to come behind a common purpose," Obama said. "We are ready to get this done today, but there has to be movement on all sides."
Amid signs the talks could be falling apart at a critical stage, Obama arrived Friday morning in the Danish capital and immediately ripped up his planned schedule in a desperate attempt to salvage a global deal to cut carbon emissions.
He abruptly canceled a ceremonial one-on-one meeting with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen so he could jump into an emergency meeting with almost 20 key leaders, including representatives from China, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and India.
China's involvement is critical because it has been holding up progress toward a climate deal over whether the United States and other wealthy nations should pay to help developing countries deal with the cost of global warming.
Obama met with Wen for 55 minutes earlier Friday, a White House official said.
December 8, 2009
Posted: 09:03 PM ET
With the publication of damaging e-mails from a climate research center in Britain, the radical environmental movement appears to face a tipping point. The revelation of appalling actions by so-called climate change experts allows the American public to finally understand the concerns so many of us have articulated on this issue.
"Climate-gate," as the e-mails and other documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have become known, exposes a highly politicized scientific circle - the same circle whose work underlies efforts at the Copenhagen climate change conference. The agenda-driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won't change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse.
The e-mails reveal that leading climate "experts" deliberately destroyed records, manipulated data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. What's more, the documents show that there was no real consensus even within the CRU crowd. Some scientists had strong doubts about the accuracy of estimates of temperatures from centuries ago, estimates used to back claims that more recent temperatures are rising at an alarming rate.
November 23, 2009
Posted: 01:50 PM ET
Hello, I'm the Frog you've been seeing all summer long. I'm the one in all those Prince's Rainforest Project videos on YouTube. Yes I've been on Pele's famous foot, I've been caressed by Harrison Ford, I've been held aloft by the Dalai Lama, I've even been cuddled by Robin Williams. Sir Richard Branson even tried to turn me into one of his beautiful red suited stewardesses. That didn't turn out so well.
Why all the fuss hey? Well I'm in trouble. Yep, me and whole load of other species out here in the Rainforest.
You know everyone now seems to be aware of the impact cars, power stations and planes have on climate-changing pollution, but not so many know we have to keep our remaining rainforests alive- standing up- not being cut down.
This viral video created by the Prince's Rainforest Project (click here to watch it and you'll see me at the end) aims to fill the gap and mobilize public support for action. It does a good job in delivering a powerful message while also allows the chance for everyone to make a positive difference.
Yes you too.
If enough people see the video and go to the website (rainforestsos.org) to signal their support for action, then perhaps world leaders will in the weeks ahead of Copenhagen be more persuaded to put in place some properly funded response to help the developing countries value their forests as worth more alive than dead.
Almost 15 million acres are cleared each year- causing billions of tons of carbon dioxide to be released. That's not good news. So please help a Frog in Need- Lend a Hand- well a click I guess- and watch this video, encourage others to watch it (all my frog friends have) and wait until the very end. The more people who see this, and act on it, the more likely it is that we'll get the response the world needs.
NOTE: OK, a Frog didn't really write this, but Kieran Baker did. He's Executive Producer of the Viral Video Campaign for the Prince's Rainforests Project.
November 11, 2009
Posted: 12:55 PM ET
NOTE: Al Gore will be on LKL for the hour Thursday. What do you want to ask him?
By Holman Jenkins
Last spring Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn asked Al Gore during a House hearing if his investments in green energy meant he would benefit personally from cap and trade.
"If you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don't know me," Mr. Gore responded (and, yes, according to two reporters present, he sighed).
Mr. Gore is quite right that his arguments should be judged on their merits, not on his investments. He's wrong to think his investments are irrelevant, and, even more, that sincerity is dispositive of anything. Sincerity is no substitute for disinterestedness.
Here are a couple questions: When so much of his position and prestige are invested in a predicted climate crisis, is Mr. Gore likely to be open to contrary evidence? Is he likely to be particularly fastidious about whether proposed steps will actually have an effect on global warming if they also happen to benefit his investments?
Ms. Blackburn's challenge was in a sense late. Mr. Gore long ago jumped over to the side where salesmanship, by whatever means, was the trumping priority. As far back as 1989, he insisted there was "no dispute worthy of recognition" about the danger of manmade climate change. By now, he titularly heads a vast establishment with a stake in one side of the argument.
September 22, 2009
Posted: 02:18 PM ET
This LARRY KING LIVE WEB EXCLUSIVE is by Djimon Hounsou, the only professional actor involved in the Summit on Climate Change on September 22 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
I have always been vocal on poverty issues and have championed humanitarian causes, but I never really considered myself an environmentalist. Sure I try to consume less and recycle more, but it wasn’t until I began to witness the truly cataclysmic effects of climate change on the poorest amongst us that I felt obligated to speak up.
For years, I’ve been advocating for the struggling farmers in my home country of Benin and in Mali in West Africa, where agriculture is more than a job. It is a way of life. Their very survival depends upon what they can grow, and unlike the economic crisis that we’re facing now where many people live paycheck to paycheck, these struggling farmers fight and scrape by on a meager existence from season to season. All across Africa, southern Asia, and other third world countries, farming is the only means of employment and survival, which is greatly affected by the climate changes taking place - droughts, flooding, and erratic seasons. Through my work with the international humanitarian group Oxfam, I have learned that a changing climate has the potential to dramatically impact them.
In 2005, when I visited a remote village outside of Bamako in Mali, I saw how dependent people’s lives were on rainfall. If the rain had not come in time, a whole season of planting would be wasted. Luckily, some rain did fall but not enough for most farmers to even turn a profit.
Because climate change will make seasons much less predictable, storms more frequent and conditions more difficult to manage, the poorest farmers around the world, such as the cotton farmers in Benin, are likely to suffer the most, despite their lack of negative impact to the crisis.
Lacking the information or resources necessary to understand, prepare for, and respond to the dire affects of climate change, many of the world’s poorest communities will experience unprecedented stress.
Without adequate support to adapt to the changing climate, the effect is a downward spiral into deeper poverty and increased vulnerability.
This could mean that millions would go without food, pull their children out of school, sell off cattle to pay for mounting debt, or migrate to other regions. Such dramatic consequences are not just a terrible tragedy; they can also threaten to undermine global stability and security.
I know all of this first hand. Growing up in Benin in West Africa, and having worked and traveled to many parts of the world, I know how important farming is to the livelihood of so many people.
And it’s not just the people in West Africa who feel the impact of climate change; it’s happening all over the world. Cities and villages that line the coasts are under threat from ever intensifying hurricanes, floods, and storms. Here in the States we have witnessed our eastern seaboard and gulf coast ravaged by hurricanes, while my home state of California continues to fight wildfires that grow out of control. The large river basins of the Niger River, the Senegal River, and Lake Chad have experienced a total water decrease between 40 and 60 percent.
The number of people affected by climate change will only increase; Oxfam estimates that it will affect 275 million people by 2015. That’s more than the entire population of the United States.
With this type of projected impact, it is no surprise that this global crisis, and its drastic effects on poor people around the world, will at last take center stage and get the attention it deserves. Heads of state from around the world are planning to come together in Copenhagen in December to work towards an agreement to tackle climate change. If global leaders want these negotiations to be a success, the agreement has to allow for both reducing global warming pollution and for investing in the resiliency of defenseless communities around the world. This assistance can help them to prepare for and respond to the impact of climate change.
Helping vulnerable communities means providing funding for those who are living in the most extreme poverty to adapt to climate change and prepare for the future. This funding can support innovations such as drought-resistant seeds or provide essentials like assembling food banks for times of shortage. Even coastal tree barriers and raised homes for floods and hurricanes can help. The bottom line is that the world’s wealthiest nations can and should help the neediest to plan ahead for the future, to avoid the humanitarian disasters that we have seen ravage these communities.
As an African, I have a responsibility to share the impact of climate change on Africa with the global community; but as citizen of the world I have a responsibility to speak out and do my part for all of humanity. The clock is ticking – now. World leaders have the chance to stop the clock. Let’s hope that in New York and in Copenhagen they take the lead to lift millions of people out of poverty. We don’t have the luxury to debate the issues, or question ourselves. We must stop second-guessing our duties. It is unequivocally our inherent responsibility to one another as humans to assist and find solutions for the poorest in our communities and around the globe.
May 7, 2009
Posted: 11:29 AM ET
Paddy Harverson is the Communications Secretary to the Prince of Wales. His commentary is an LKL Web Exclusive!
Also, CLICK HERE to watch Larry's interview with Paddy Harverson. It's another LKL Web Exclusive.
Even though the world’s tropical rainforests seem a long way away to most of us, they in fact play a vital role in all of our lives, every day.
They are essential for our well-being because they play a hugely vital role in regulating our climate by keeping the planet cool and producing much of the rainfall essential to grow our food. Perhaps most important of all, rainforests are crucial to life on Earth because every year they absorb and store nearly a fifth of all man-made CO2 emissions.
The problem is, the rainforests are currently being destroyed at the rate of a soccer pitch every four seconds – which adds up to almost 15 million acres a year.
To make matters worse, when these forests are felled and burned to free the land for agriculture or mining, they release all that stored CO2 back into the atmosphere. The scale of this burning means that tropical deforestation is the third greatest cause of global carbon emissions, releasing more dangerous greenhouses gases into the atmosphere each year than all the planes, cars, trains and ships of the world put together.
It is this link between deforestation and climate change that persuaded The Prince of Wales to set up The Prince's Rainforests Project (PRP) in October 2007. It’s main aim is, put simply, to “make the trees worth more alive than dead”. To do this, a financial mechanism needs to be developed that raises money to support sustainable forms of economic development in the rainforests which do not involve cutting the trees down.
While The Prince has already helped to build a consensus among governments to find a financial solution to deforestation, he is also keen to seek the public’s support in his endeavour.
To this end, this week he launched an online public awareness campaign to improve understanding of the link between deforestation and climate change and the need for urgent action to tackle the problem.
The focal point of the campaign is a 90-second film in which His Royal Highness appears alongside his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and an array of well-known figures including Harrison Ford, the Dalai Lama, Daniel Craig and Robin Williams.
Everyone in the film appears with a beautiful frog which, we hope, will become the symbol of the rainforests’ plight. The frog, created by the brilliant CGI experts behind Oscar-winnig movie “The Golden Compass”, serves as a reminder of the many species threatened by deforestation.
The interactive nature of the campaign is such that a digital application gives supporters the chance to create their very own “mash-up” video in which they can appear alongside the frog and celebrities.
To watch the film, sign up in support of the campaign and try the mash-up application, please visit The Prince’s Rainforests Project website www.rainforestsos.org.
The Prince’s message is simple: we need to save the rainforests if we are to save ourselves.
April 20, 2009
Posted: 01:50 PM ET
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that concern over carbon dioxide gasses was being overblown.
"The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment, it is almost comical," Boehner said. "Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, when they do what they do, you have more carbon dioxide."
Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether or not this meant that greenhouse gas reduction was not an issue Republicans thought needed to be addressed, Boehner replied, "I think it is an issue, the question is what is the proper answer and what is the responsible answer"
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