If anyone was still in any doubt about Junior being a full-on enviro-warmie:
“Environmentalists are just now waking up to the reality that if we’re going to stop global warming, we’re going to have to be a lot more politically savvy.”
The heady days of early 2009, when advocates for global action on climate change anticipated world leaders gathering later that year around a conference table in Copenhagen to reach a global agreement, are but a distant memory. Today, with many of these same leaders focusing their attention on jumpstarting economic growth, environmental issues have taken a back seat. For environmentalists, it may seem that climate policy has dropped from the political agenda altogether.
They’re right. The world’s biggest emitters have reached a consensus of sorts, but not the one hoped for in Copenhagen. In the United States, President Barack Obama has borrowed his energy policy — “all of the above” — from the Republicans. Europe has dithered on any further commitments to emissions reductions as governments have been completely consumed by the euro crisis. China and India have used the follow-on conferences to Copenhagen, held in Durban and Cancun, to decisively push international climate negotiations into the long weeds. Leaders’ attention to climate policy is not coming back — at least not in any form comparable to the plans being discussed just a few years ago.
Copenhagen will likely be remembered as the moment when advocates for action lost their innocence. For more than a decade, expectations had been raised for a grand global bargain to put a price on carbon that would compel a major reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions — notably carbon dioxide — over the coming decades. To understand why this bargain failed requires a basic understanding of where carbon dioxide comes from and how it is reduced. A very simple but powerful framework for such an understanding was proposed in the 1980s by Japanese scientist Yoichi Kaya. Kaya explained that future carbon dioxide emissions would be the product of four factors: population, economic activity, how we obtain our energy, and how we use that energy.