Climate Change

Images of the Copenhagen climate conference

The fact that the United Nations barred InvestigateWest journalists from covering the actual meetings on climate change in Copenhagen didn't prevent InvestigateWest photographers Mark Malijan and Christopher Crow from capturing some interesting images outside the gates of the Bella Center:

[caption id="attachment_6860" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Chris Keene, of Wales, used a variety of self-propelled vehicles to make his way more than 900 miles to Copenhagen for the talks. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Chris Keene, of Wales, used a variety of self-propelled vehicles to make his way more than 900 miles to Copenhagen for the talks. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6861" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="One of the bazillion phone calls made by meeting participants. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]One of the bazillion phone calls made by meeting participants. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6863" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Delegates and others emerge from the Bella Center, where the negotiations are conducted, at day's end. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Delegates and others emerge from the Bella Center, where the negotiations are conducted, at day's end.</p />
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Ice replica of Copenhagen's most famous statue melts

Ice melting in Copenhagen in December -- a statement by Friends of the Earth International on the condition of the melting  polar caps and glaciers worldwide. Read our latest on the climate talks.

[caption id="attachment_6837" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Ice sculpture melts just outside the Bella Center, site of the climate talks in Copenhagen. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Ice sculpture melts just outside the Bella Center, site of the climate talks in Copenhagen. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

 Update 9:48 a.m.: Oops. Guess I should have said this is a replica of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen's harbor.

Obama administration's climate regs have two key and timely audiences

The United Nations' refusal to accredit InvestigateWest journalsts to cover the global climate-change negotiations today in Copenhagen took up way too much of my day. How ridiculous! The UN, which can't even figure out how to open up to independent journalists the corridors outside where actual decisions are made* ... is going to be running an international treaty? One that likely will engender massive worldwide economic and energy-use changes?

rm iwest mugAnyway, to recap the most important development in the climate story on this side of the Atlantic today, the Obama administration announced it would be treating greenhouse gases as pollutants. I first saw it on the front page of The Wall Street Journal this morning, and further checking suggests the Journal got the jump on others on this story (with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers' positions both mentioned before the jump).

Now, this is anything but unexpected. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced  months ago the agency would be taking the step it did today, which puts EPA on the path to regulating carbon dioxide and methane and the whole shootin' match as if they were, oh, say, benzene. The EPA was more or less obligated to do this by a 2007 court decision.

Jackson said nothing about today's announcement when she was in Seattle Friday.

Wading skeletons and other images of the climate-change conference in Copenhagen

Photographer Christopher Crow emerged with arresting shots from the scene outside the international climate talks that began today in Copenhagen. Find out more.

[caption id="attachment_6776" align="alignleft" width="512" caption="Artwork outside the Bella Center, where the international climate negotiations got underway on Monday. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Artwork outside the Bella Center, where the international climate negotiations got underway on Monday. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6782" align="alignleft" width="512" caption="United Nations security guard tells a frustrated observer her credentials are not yet available. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]United Nations security guard tells a frustrated observer her credentials are not yet available. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6788" align="alignleft" width="512" caption="Theater for Africa presentation. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Theater for Africa presentation.</p />
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Independent journalists denied access to Copenhagen climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- Climate change has become the story of the decade and probably the century. So it’s no surprise that the global climate negotiations beginning here today are making the headlines of nearly every major news organization in the world. With thousands of journalists in attendance, the conference seemed at low risk of going underreported. Or so I imagined.

[caption id="attachment_6760" align="alignright" width="98" caption="Alexander Kelly"]Alexander Kelly[/caption]

Late last night, I stood in line to receive my press pass to cover the negotiations. I was glad to have access to the front lines of the climate debate and the resources to report it. Imagine, then, the surprise I felt upon arriving at the press desk only to learn that my accreditation had been rescinded. The reason given: the UN had accredited too many journalists.

Incredulous, I showed the UN official, a man in his mid-20s, a copy of the email I received from the UN press office just a few weeks earlier. It contained three simple words: “Received and approved,” followed by directions for collecting my press pass. The man behind the counter glanced at the paper and told me he would be back in a few moments. He returned with a simple message: We are very sorry, but our records show that you have been denied, and we cannot provide you accreditation at this time.

Excuse me? Really? I flew almost 5,000 miles from the Pacific Northwest to Copenhagen to be denied access to an event I have spent half a year preparing for? Standing next to me was our video journalist, Blair Kelly, who took the email from his hands and told him to get his supervisor.

[caption id="attachment_6758" align="alignleft" width="226" caption="On the outside looking in.

Copenhagen climate talks start with protests against rich nations' pollution of atmosphere

We're starting to receive images from the beginning of the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen, which kicked off today. For more on the conference see introductory posts by Alexander Kelly and Robert McClure:

[caption id="attachment_6726" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Protesters from ActionAid demand that rich industrialized countries pay reparations to poor countries bearing the brunt of climate change. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan"]Protesters from ActionAid demand that rich industrialized countries pay reparations to poor countries bearing the brunt of climate change. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan[/caption]

cop 12-7 action aid protesters 

[caption id="attachment_6718" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Reporter with Taiwan-based CTi News covers the ActionAid protest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Reporter with Taiwan-based CTi News covers the ActionAid protest.</p />
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Obama's people make the case that fighting climate change = jobs

Our good friends at grist.org commissioned this story today. Hope you like it:

By Robert McClure

SEATTLE—You could tell by the way Obama administration officials pep-talked a roomful of clean-energy businesspeople today that the White House realizes it hasn’t convinced Americans that “tackling climate change = ending the recession.”

rm iwest mugAgain and again EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Energy Undersecretary Kristina Johnson pounded on the jobs issue at a pre-Copenhagen climate talks event designed to showcase how energy efficiency, the smart grid and renewable energy can boost employment rates.

“We’re hearing a whole host of reasons today to support American clean energy. There are national security reasons. There are environmental reasons, and there are public-health reasons,” Jackson said. “But perhaps the most compelling reason at this moment and in this place is the economy.”

The very setting of the clean energy forum fairly screamed “JOBS!” It was a nearly-finished “innovation center” that is leasing space for startups, built by McKinstry Co. beside the firm’s south Seattle offices. McKinstry is all about energy efficiency in buildings (which is where something like a third to two-fifths of our energy use occurs, depending on how you’re counting).

And, get this: Even as the recession roared ahead into high gear earlier this year, McKinstry announced plans to hire 500 people.

That can happen more, Jackson said.

David Suzuki: Space aliens would think humans insane for imperiling life-support systems

  
 

[caption id="attachment_6631" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Alexander Kelly and David Suzuki/Photo by Paul Israel"]Alexander Kelly and David Suzuki/Photo by Paul Israel[/caption]

 By Alexander Kelly 

Editor’s note: InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly will be covering the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is an edited transcript of an interview he conducted earlier this year with Canadian environmental leader and scientist David Suzuki. More information on Suzuki is available at the website of his Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation. 

InvestigateWest: You are a scientist serving the public interest by stepping outside of academia in order to address the public directly. There are those who are losing hope in the face of findings from such scientists as James Lovelock, James Hansen and yourself. What is it that you really want the public to do?

David Suzuki: In Canada, we’re still left with an administration that is very much in the Bush mode. They are trying to suppress information from the scientific community, manipulate the scientific knowledge, have opposed any admission that climate change is real and we have to act on it, and I think for Canadians, it’s been very frustrating, because for the last two years, climate change has been at the top of the agenda for Canadian concern, and yet politicians aren’t doing anything. So what I say is that people have to inform themselves, and they have to begin to demand change on a large scale. That’s a big thing to ask, but I’ve seen it in the past. I’ve seen it in the civil rights movement.