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Climate change, the great leveller

Christopher Caldwell

The Copenhagen summit on climate change is starting to resemble the August 1928 meeting in Paris at which more than a dozen nations, including Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the US, signed a treaty to abolish war. A real problem, a commitment to solving it and a large dose of arrogance convinced the world – 65 countries, eventually – to sign the Kellogg-Briand pact, named after the American and French ministers who devised it. But the reality of perpetual peace proved harder to advance than the ideal of

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Failure Looming at Copenhagen Climate Summit

Markus Becker and Christoph Seidler


Gallows humor is about all Yvo de Boer can muster these days. When the head of the United Nations Climate Secretariat entered the press hall at the Copenhagen climate conference on Tuesday evening, he was carrying a life ring, which he had just been handed by the development NGO Oxfam. "Act now. Save lives," it said on the ring. And "tck, tck, tck." A photographer asked him to stick his head through the ring for a picture. De Boer grinned. "I'll hang myself with it if this here goes wrong," he replied.

Waiting for Obama

David Corn

When President Barack Obama was in Oslo last week collecting his Nobel Peace Prize, thousands of officials from around the world were gathered 300 miles away in Copenhagen, trying to craft a climate change agreement. In his acceptance speech Obama made no direct mention of this. He remarked that "the world must come together to confront climate change," but there was not a peep about the nearby efforts in Denmark or his scheduled attendance at the conference this coming Friday. Days later, when Obama delivered his weekly White House address, the subject was not the arduous attempt to

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This is bigger than climate change. It is a battle to redefine humanity

George Monbiot

This is the moment at which we turn and face ourselves. Here, in the plastic corridors and crowded stalls, among impenetrable texts and withering procedures, humankind decides what it is and what it will become. It chooses whether to continue living as it has done, until it must make a wasteland of its home, or to stop and redefine itself. This is about much more than climate change. This is about us.

The meeting at Copenhagen confronts us with our primal tragedy. We are the universal ape, equipped with the ingenuity and aggression to bring down prey much

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They Don't Come any Greener than Obama

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

As the curtains open at the global summit in Copenhagen, critics in Europe are calling US President Barack Obama a liar and a traitor in the fight to slow global warming. In truth, though, he's the greenest president America has ever seen.

Now Barack Obama is guilty, along with an America that is oil-dependent, ultra-consumerist, superficial and detached from the world. The White House messiah had proclaimed a new direction for a warming planet -- and hasn't fulfilled his vision within a historical second. Ten months into his term, the United States is showing up at the global

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Finally, US leads on environment

Derrick Jackson

IN A CRITICAL demonstration of backbone on global warming, the Obama administration yesterday declared carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant. Saying the country “will not ignore science and the law any longer,’’ Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said her findings and declaration “cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse gas pollution.’’

In a news briefing, Jackson rattled off the predicted effects of unabated climate change, based on “overwhelming amounts of scientific study.’’ The effects range from melting polar ice caps to droughts and

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