The Road To Copenhagen: Now Is The Time To Speak Up About Climate Change

There are basically two reasons why I won’t discuss global climate change when I talk to folks about the environment. The first has to do with the enormity of the problem. I’m the first to admit that we have a hurculean task ahead of us if we are to avert radical climate change in the future. But having said that, to many, it is such a daunting task, and the numbers and science so overwhelming that discussing it can be a turn off. Many times, I have heard people saying things along the lines of “Well there’s no way I can stop the icebergs from melting so there’s not really much I can do.” So I try to steer clear of it and instead focus on things that people can relate to (energy usage, waste, water usage, etc.)–things that they can do something about and that will also help in the fight against climate change.

The second reason is that, sadly, it has been politicized to the extent of becoming a quagmire. Due to a number of reasons, many people I speak to feel that if you are talking about climate change, or global warming as it has been sadly referred to time and again, you are pushing a left wing agenda, and they just tune out to everything you have to say. This doesn’t do anyone any good, so I always start my seminars with a slide that explains why I don’t talk about climate change because I don’t need to. I can give you ten reasons why the changes we all need to make are important, ranging from religion, to thrift, to national security and show you the importance of change without ever mentioning global warming once.

Having said all of that, I am going to break with tradition and spend today’s column discussing global climate change. Why you ask? Well, because I was fortunate enough to attend the Governors Global Climate Summit 2 in Century City, California last week and was really struck by what I heard there. The conference was set up as a precursor to Copenhagen, where the nations of the world will soon meet to discuss a new climate change treaty that will hopefully be more inclusive, and more effective than the Kyoto Protocol was. Attending was a veritable smorgasbord of folks from all walks of life, and I was able to interview quite a few of them and speak candidly with them after the fact.

I will not mention specific names, as I was there as a filmmaker for another entity, but was able to speak to one of President Obama’s advisors on the environment, a retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy, the governors of Oregon, Wisconsin, and the state of Amazonas in Brazil, a U.N. director for policy development, a 17-year old school kid who teaches other kids about global climate change, a policy maker from India, and a native rubber tree farmer from the Amazon basin, just to name a few. It was quite a varied cast of characters from all over the globe who all came to the conference to bring the severity of climate change to light.

We spoke to all of these individuals privately, interviewing them for a piece on climate change, and then had time to speak with many of them off camera afterward as well. As a result, none of the folks we spoke with heard what anyone else was saying. And the frightening thing was, give or take a handful of months here or there, each of them spoke about the need for change within five years. Essentially what they were saying was that if we don’t have a plan in action and start limiting our CO2 output now and moving into the next five years, we will pass the point of no return and will not be able to do much if anything about climate change.

Five years. Think about how small an amount of time that is. Now of course, maybe they are off, but the point is that the deadline is out there. Between climate change, the end of cheap oil, and so many other problems on the rise, it’s not a question of if, but a question of when, and we need to act now.

So I’d ask each and every one of you, on a personal level, to take a deep look at your fossil fuel usage and cut it down, way down. Drive less, fly less if at all, turn your lights off, turn that AC and Heat down, step back and take a critical look at how you live your life and consider that fact that with every ounce of fossil fuel energy you are using, you are casting a vote for the future of this planet.

And once you are done doing that, or perhaps before, take a moment and write a letter or email your elected officials and implore them to come up with a solution at Copenhagen. Explain to them that reversing climate change is an issue that is important to you and that they need to address it now and be a part of the solution. If you live on the coast, talk to them about sea rise. If you live inland, talk to them about radically changing weather patterns and the potential for crop and water disruptions sending millions of people in search of livable conditions. Tell them that if they want your vote next time they are up for election, they need to step up and face this.

If you live in the United States, you can find out who and how to contact here. If you live elsewhere, you can probably find out how by Googling the info, but please feel free to post the link in the comments below for your own country.

Time is running out and we need to put the pressure on. If we all en masse start speaking up now, perhaps Copenhagen will end up being the start of the change we need to see. If not, there may not be time to avert the crisis at hand. I for one will work for the former in the hopes of averting the latter. How about you?


Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. “Give people the facts, and they’ll choose to do the right thing.”


Bee Hive Lady
Fiona O8 years ago

I am ashamed of my cynicism. I expected no meaningful cooperation between the nations involved, but I did not expect the tricks of India and China -- even being a cynic, their collusion and corruption surprised me. The climate will continue to change while each and every nation is more concerned with their financial bottom line. When the developing countries look to the terrible example set by the emerging nations of India and China, the developing nations will show even more of a lack of responsibility. Let us not forget that the US will continue to lead the world in carbon production. Altogether the US and other industrialized powers, corrupted India and China, and developing nations making no plans for themselves, we have only a grim future approaching.

Kai J.
Kai J8 years ago

Genevieve H - The thing I was trying to get across is that an agenda was formed and slowly ushered in over a 40 year period. It
began to rear it's head in the 60's, because of realistic concerns about pollution which were hijacked by the elite who used genuine
fears to exploit for their own ends. Another example of what I'm desperately trying to get across is Women's Lib - How come it took off the way it did? I am posting a video link to simply illustrate the level of corruption and cynicism of the elite. In it, Aaron Russo explains how women's lib came about, and the
reasons why. Please watch and listen, and then think back to global warming and realise that the same people have been propagating a large number of hidden agendas since the end of the 2nd World War. It was shocking to me 5 years ago, to realise that the history we have been taught is false, that recent events have been procured and are false. Global Warming/Climate Change sits right in the middle of it all for reasons you will have to discover for yourself on PAGEONE: (Russo interview)
(Current & historical data)
To continue: At the moment Obama is quietly pushing "S.773 - The Cybersecurity Act of 2009" with Jay Rockefeller as proponent. If
it becomes law, most private American Internet sites WILL disappear! Realising that opposition to their plans have grown, they are fearful and hopefully, mistakes will be made.

Genevieve H.
Genevieve H8 years ago

Thanks Dave, I always like your articles/posts. They are by far the most intelligent and informed on this site, and actually trying to do something positive. It helps to know there are people like you, when I feel so discouraged, like today. Anyway, even when I feel so discouraged, I keep on doing my best to consume the least possible of anything. Except vegetables!
And to Kai and others, in the seventies, when I was a teenager, we were already talking about climate change, global warming and all the other consequences of modern society driven by consumerism, capitalism, the over use of fossil fuels, the wasting of primary resources. There were already people caring for the environment and the planet in those days, and even before. The difference now, is that it's talked about in the media and it's taken seriously at last. But not by everyone, unfortunately. And it's true that it is also misused and misappropriated by people with their own selfish agenda, but this sad reality does not negate the fact that we are now facing extremely dire consequences if we don't act now.

Katherine S.
Katie S8 years ago

Oh man I love that video. I came across it the other day and have been passing it on.

I don't drive during the school year, and I keep my ac/heat off for as long as possible. I expect not to have my heat on for a while now- I'll just be walking around the house wrapped up in blankets! For one, heating bills can be ridiculous, and two, those high heating bills indicate the large amount of gas being used which sucks! When I have enough money to buy my own house, I'm definitely investing in a fire place.

Izabela Suzuki-kugler

This was one of the best articles here in a long time. Thank you! Well written, unemotional and persuasive too.

Kai J.
Kai J8 years ago

Here is a rule of thumb which I've found to be of value. If you get a form of repetition occuring through all available media, you can guess there's an agenda. It's that simple. A bit like advertising. Repetition, until they feel that the population has absorbed the message they are proposing, unquestioningly, the relentless propaganda goes on... everywhere. Personally, I'd love it if people started speaking in these volatile terms about kids education and the pathetic balderdash being proposed by the various think-tanks over the years. I have never known a 'tank' to think. They just shoot and kill or maim, just like the education systems of most of western society. A lot of people fall by the way and no-one is bothered, but give them this huge, unbelievable monster of a creation called GLOBAL WARMING, and we all want to save the world! Well, it starts at home, with your neighborhood, in your local school. Grand people always think of grand agendas for us common folk to rally around. You wait: the next really big one they will get you all on board with is the 3rd World War. It will take place in the middle-east or thereabouts, so not too much of a threat, is it..? Well not until the depleted uranium clouds start drifting over and then it'll be too late. You've got to get behind the geo-political strategies, terrorism, the so-called economic crash and the depression coming, the so-called pandemic.
They are ALL linked but you're going to have to join the dots yourselves.

Yohan D.
Yohan D.8 years ago

Kai said:
"Good old H2o holds 45% more power (according to government's own statistics) than petrol. Personally, I had an exeriment done with just basic school equipent to test the combustibility of water. The result, according to my father-in-law who did the experiment, was explosive, but it will not be allowed! Just think: zero emissions. Climate Change?! Hah!"

True, if you convert water to hydrogen and oxygen and then ignite it (which is what I think you did), you get quite a bang. However the conversion efficiency is far lower than the cost of gas. According to Wikipedia's "Electrolysis of water" entry:

The energy efficiency of water electrolysis varies widely with the numbers cited below on the optimistic side. Some report 50–80%.[7][8] These values refer only to the efficiency of converting electrical energy into hydrogen's chemical energy. The energy lost in generating the electricity is not included. For instance, when considering a power plant that converts the heat of nuclear reactions into hydrogen via electrolysis, the total efficiency may be closer to 30–45%.

So replace fossil fuels with hydrogen and you will get rid of pollution - or would you just move it to where ever the power plants are located which are burning fossil fuel to generate the electricity for electrolysis?

I would dearly love to see hydrogen (with oxygen) replace fossil fuel as it is clean and powerful, but it is explosive, hard to store and expensive to make. But we sh

Kai J.
Kai J8 years ago

Sustainable Dave - I would totally go along with the fact that we are polluting and alternatives to fossil fuels exist. No doubt about it. Cutting down forests, polluting rivers, lakes, oceans and more. I totally go with that because it's true, visible and obvious. Unfortunately 'the powers that be' have managed to harness the energies of a lot of well meaning people and have diverted them into an agenda which is bogus. Not only have the borders been fudged but lines have been crossed that never should have been, i.e. petroleum as a fuel is obsolete. Many moons ago the world was hijacked into believing that a combustion engine could only run from petrol. Not true. In fact they have fudged and diverted so many new inventions that could break the status quo and have not been allowed onto the market for fear of their losing the control they now have and grudgingly so-called electric and hydrogen cars are being introduced as 'new'. At the turn of the 20th century most technologies existed; gas cars, electric cars, steam cars etc and one which they really do not want on the market because it will break their banks: Water Cars. Good old H2o holds 45% more power (according to government's own statistics) than petrol. Personally, I had an exeriment done with just basic school equipent to test the combustibility of water. The result, according to my father-in-law who did the experiment, was explosive, but it will not be allowed! Just think: zero emissions. Climate Change?! Hah!

Sustainable Dave
Dave Chameides8 years ago

Yohan, I'm a bit swamped but will try to read your posts and comment back if I can. I will say that citing Michael Creighton up front doesn't give me a lot of hope. That said, I'm interested in checking your posts.

Thanks for the post Kai, always good to hear your thoughts. I agree that population is right up there, but you can I probably agree that the population summit isn't coming anytime soon.

The bottom line for me is I don't really care if people buy into climate change or not. I don't really see a logical argument being made anywhere for the continued burning of fossil fuels (and I don't count making money as a logical argument). I can't find a logical argument for sending troops around the world to secure fossil fuel rights. I can't see the logic behind the continued wasting of our natural resources. Take money out of the equation and every argument falls apart. So as I mentioned in the piece, and I elcture about, climate change doesn't need to be the single reason. We have a moral and ethical dilemma at hand when it comes to the amount of natural resources we abuse and use (water, petorleum, coal, etc.) If you don't believe in climate change, then surely you don't support adding mercury and other contaminants to our environment by burning coal to run your flat screen. There are more than enough reasons to ho around. Wondering why these govs shouldn't be working towards limiting fossil fuel depletion/use?

Kai J.
Kai J8 years ago

Dear Dave, where to start? The whole global warming agenda began in 1991 during a meeting of 'The Club of Rome'. You may have heard of it. Big power attended; industrialists, politicos, royalty etc, people like the Rockefellers. I love the video but the argument is based on a false premis. The propaganda began subtly, and they have been pushing it ever since, all tied into an economic strategy. This is the crux: New means of Taxation to bring about a slave-like society. Cynical, I know, of them, not I. Here are two links, which I hope your
'followers' will also consider. These I have compiled in order to show the true nature of what is now called Climate Change, in preference to Global Warming because for the last ten years the Earth has actually been cooling which became thoroughly measurable and obvious within the last two years! By the way; the economic meltdown of America is still on the cards, because it has been planned as part of the package to achieve a one world government. First your currency will be destroyed and cease to be the world's reserve currency and then the great depression will follow. An awakening of the World's peoples's could avert BOTH events. The REAL agenda though, is to reduce the world population by any means including wars, pestilence, famines, vaccination programs & disease creation. These are the folk behind Climate Change. It is so much bigger than you all know: & www.kaijansen.Page1.html