Hello from Copenhagen! I landed on Sunday and sat through long lines for my hotel room, NGO credentials, and everything else to prepare for two weeks of discussions, panels, and media around the U.N. climate talks. 1Sky finished last week with a whirlwind of activity: a White House rally with several allied organizations (watch our video here); the delivery of a petition with 30,000 names asking President Obama to set the stage for a fair, ambitious and binding treaty; and the President’s announcement that he’ll change his schedule to attend the talks on December 18, a critical day towards the end of the conference, when his presence could make the most difference.
The grassroots pressure that 1Sky and many other groups are putting on the Administration is important to keeping the U.S. moving towards a real climate deal. I couldn’t have been more proud of the movement than I was last week.
But, it will be an uphill battle to get that binding treaty. The deniers are out in full-force right now, making it even more difficult to exert pressure on our leaders for a strong bill in the Senate in early 2010. We have our work cut out for us at home and abroad — but we also have a strong leader in President Obama. Even with a Senate bill in flux, public indifference to climate change, faux scandals, and global economic turmoil, we have a leader who can make a difference. Obama’s decision to re-schedule his appearance for the most important day of the conference reaffirms his dedication to a clean energy future.
Here at Copenhagen, Obama must use his leadership and ability to rally other nations around a strong and lasting global treaty. Then, he must push the Senate into creating strong legislation and finally ratifying a global climate treaty in 2010. 1Sky has launched a call-in campaign for the next two weeks to pressure the Administration to stay strong and help set the table for a binding global treaty in Copenhagen.
All climate denial aside, we have a leader and he can still be our voice for a clean energy future. We simply have to keep raising our voices, too.
Gillian Caldwell is the Campaign Director for 1Sky, a new national campaign to build a diverse nationwide movement and convince our federal government to take bold action to tackle the climate crisis and harness the enormous economic opportunity of the renewable energy economy by 2010.