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Climate Week Gets Lukewarm Response

Climate Week Gets Lukewarm Response

Seventy days before the international climate summit in Copenhagen, hundreds of government officials and business leaders met in New York City on Monday to kick off Climate Week. On Tuesday, President Obama affirmed his commitment to action when he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Climate Summit.  Despite delays in passing a cap-and-trade bill, Obama highlighted U.S. efforts to curb climate change over the past year, including stimulus investments in renewable energy and efficiency, extension of tax credits for renewable energy, new automobile emissions standards and partnerships with other major emitters like China and India. Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones reports that Obama pledged to also address climate change with other leaders at G20 meetings later in the week.

Michelle Chen of Air America was frustrated with Obama’s speech, and felt that it did little to motivate Congress or leaders of other countries to take responsibility and act. “Despite Obama’s speech—and a pledge from Chinese President Hu Jintao on moving China toward a more sustainable energy system—overall, the planetary meltdown has drawn a lukewarm response from the biggest polluters,” writes Chen.

Since U.S. commitment is considered key to success in Copenhagen, many are concerned how climate change negotiations will proceed. The “first steps” that Obama outlined will not suffice, and the leading emitters must be accountable for their emissions. Climate change has already begun to rear its ugly head. Dangerously high sea levels are threatening Pacific Island nations.

Activists from all over the world participated in Climate Week through demonstrations, rallies and flash mobs. Yes! Magazine features a photo essay illustrating over 2,600 demonstrations in 134 countries that “urge their politicians to ‘wake up’ to the threat of climate change and to create a fair, aggressive, and binding treaty during the final set of international negotiations in Copenhagen this December.”

In hopes of strengthening international negotiations and raising public awareness, a new film, The Age of Stupid, premiered in 63 countries on Monday and Tuesday, marking one of the largest simultaneous screenings in history. Jeffrey Allen of OneWorld US writes that the film stresses the grave consequences of unchecked climate change. The U.K. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, said that the documentary is “an incredibly powerful account of the effects of climate change, the urgency of climate change, and the reasons we must act as quickly as possible.”

In an interview with Grist’s Ashely Braun, the film’s director, Franny Armstrong, says she hopes the film will rouse people to action. By setting the film in the future, The Age of Stupid shows the ramifications of inaction today. Armstrong hopes that the film reaches 250 million viewers before Copenhagen, who in turn could pressure their politicians to create strong treaties and plans of action at the global conference.

Another recent eco-doc, The Garden, tells the compelling story of the country’s largest urban farm in South Central Los Angeles.  As Sara Barz notes for Grist, the farmers continue to fight for their right to grow food in the community garden despite two eviction notices, numerous court proceedings, allegations of corruption, an assault charge and having to raise $16 million.There simply isn’t a better case study for budding community-garden activists,” Barz writes.

But a film approach to environmental activism is nothing new. Following Al Gore’s 2006 eye-opener, An Inconvenient Truth, a surge of eco-documentaries have flooded the media. Andrew O’Hehir of Salon explains that the eco-documentaries “all represent the tip of an extremely large iceberg, and reflect the fact that environmentalism has become a mass-scale, grass-roots-based movement that can’t be controlled by politicians, policy wonks or talking heads.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment and is free to reprint.  This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets.

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The Age of Stupid Media kit
By Raquel Brown, Media Consortium

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10:38PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you for article.

10:37PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you for article.

10:37PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you for article.

10:36PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you for article.

10:35PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you for article.

1:29PM PDT on Sep 29, 2009

If the United States, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the earth and host to the United Nations, takes the LEAD and shows the world that it's the Republicans who are global warming deniers, *not* Americans, then we have a chance at promoting world trade and bringing our economy roaring back to life so that we can combat the ENORMOUS LOAD OF DEBT that the Republicans have yet again saddled us with.

REPUBLICANS are responsible for the near Depression Era economic policies and the outcome. They created the Great Depression, the crash of 1989 and the economic recession of 1990-91. Clinton brought the nation the most prosperous time that Americans have ever known. Obama has pulled our nation back from the edge of the cliff, and now all they can do is spread lies. The hard truth is that if we had listened to Democrats who were leaders when when they talked about climate change in the 70's and did what Germany and Japan have done since, we would be getting 17% of our energy from renewable sources, making us not have such a great need for foreign oil and foreign wars for oil. We could have been well on the way to a natural gas or a hydrogen economy with the money that we spent on killing foreigners to take their resources. You can thank Republicans who resisted change for that, and vote against them to show them your thanks. They were bought off by BIG OIL. Now it's time to pay them back.

1:14PM PDT on Sep 29, 2009

This link is a compilation of information that dispels the deliberate misinformation and myths concerning climate change. Energy companies have a disinformation strategy, and it works on the weak minded. Humans are changing our climate. This is not a new battle against real science. It's been going on for decades. It's time to shout down these global climate change deniers and put a dunce hat on them and stand them in the corner. The debate on whether it exists has long been over. The debate on what proactive things to do about it should be happening, but Republicans are the party of NO! and are stalling anything and everything, preventing the world's greatest nation from saving the planet from destruction with some small changes in what energy we create and how we create it and use it. Why didn't large energy companies come up with carbon sequestration years ago? It could have made the US a world leader. Why didn't Republicans promote companies to make wind turbines or solar panels? We could have been world leaders there. I guess they just don't like leading. No wonder everyone has lost faith in them. They hate America, wanting it to wither rather than prosper, allowing other countries to take what could have been ours.

3:17PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

Surprise. The US economy is in trouble and will be for some time to come. Of course that's if the dollar doesn't rupture and the enviros are told en masse to leave. All the "green is good" movies and propaganda by Al Gore won't make it any better

People place themselves and their families first over the abstracts of enviro movements and it's ever entangling costs. Good times means people can ignore the bite of the taxman and enviro reg man, bad times they get PO'd. Its a good time to back off the global warming/cap and trade etc calls and wait until the economy improves. Making ti worse with more taxes and less energy won't make you guys any more friends and likely will lose you many that you now have.

8:18AM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

Film and television are mass media. Imagine a world dominated by Fox news and the like. That is truly Orwellian and horrifying. The more docos committed to the truth and a positive, empowering message the better I say. Bring them on! But they must also be a call to arms. We are desperately running out of time.

3:36AM PDT on Sep 26, 2009

Believe it or not this is still a complex issue that is not easy to convince a lot of people how to proceed on. To some "Cap and Trade" just sounds unfair. It is also hard to convince many people that computer models of things reflect reality very well but many of us know that indeed it does work much of the time.

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