UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Copenhagen to attend the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference. Per Daugaard/Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Copenhagen Day Eleven

Nowhere else to go

By David MacDonald

The debates these past two weeks have been intense. The amazing thing is that almost no one has said, “We don’t need to deal with this.” That’s the kind of answer you get when there is a plan B. But there is no plan B. The undisputed fact here is that we must deal with climate change, and the sooner the better.

Expressions such as, “Moving back from the brink” have been bandied about without anyone challenging them. Yes, there are some throughout the world who would rather not deal with climate change or say it is not a problem. But apart from those who are defending vested interests and the status quo, not many are taking that view seriously. I can’t think of one head of government here who has said climate change is not a problem.

More and more key players and heads of state have arrived. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put forward her country’s best offer. As one of my American colleagues observed, “Hillary the Hammer has arrived, now we’ll see some action!” Overcrowded facilities and accommodations here have not distracted folks from attempting to find common ground and a viable solution.

So it seems the ability of people to deal with climate change is the issue, not climate change itself. And that is because there are such deep divisions and disagreements between rich and poor countries. For many, confronting climate change really means confronting hunger, poverty and homelessness.

Until recently, environment ministers have been the ones doing the negotiating. By now it must now be dawning on people that the negotiations should really be among ministers of finance. Any meaningful climate change agreement will have to address the global development gap. That means money.

It’s difficult. Fear of climate change will not cure climate change. We in wealthier countries will need to fire up our imaginations and create much more positive ways of living and working. This is especially true in cold climates such as ours.

Limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less is the critical challenge; allowing the planet to heat up any more than that would be catastrophic. We are on the brink of imagining what a 2-degree limit might look like. For the young and the young at heart it may well be the most important and exciting task of our time.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Environment

Song leader, police and gate blockers in front of the Kinder Morgan gates. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

A faith leader reflects on protesting the pipeline with the Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation.

Promotional Image

Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. Photo: Lindsay Palmer

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Society

June 2018

Why some women of colour are hesitant to say #MeToo

by Jacky Habib

Three women share their stories in the hope of creating safe spaces they never had.

Environment

May 2018

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

On April 28, 2018, faith leaders from many traditions, including the United Church, stood in solidarity with Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.. Kimiko Karpoff captured the day in pictures.

Faith

June 2018

After 93 years, this will be the United Church's last General Council meeting

by Mike Milne

When the United Church meets in July, top priorities will be a streamlined governance structure and Indigenous ministries.

Justice

June 2018

#MeToo in the United Church

by Trisha Elliott

9 women share their stories of harassment and sexual assault in the United Church.

Columns

May 2018

On grief and the healing power of gardening

by Paul Fraumeni

A writer reflects on how growing tomatoes is helping him find peace while dealing with the loss of loved ones, including his son.

Editorials

June 2018

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

Promotional Image