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Confessions of an international climate advocate at Powershift

I've just walked away from thousands of students who have taken to the streets of DC to tell the White House, dirty energy polluters, and Congress that they won't rest until their vision of a clean energy future is realized.  It was a strange feeling, really, to walk away from all the energy and excitement to go to an office to think about all the acronyms and minutiae and glacial progress that accompany the international climate negotiations.   These 8,000+ amazing young people gathered this weekend in Washington, DC for Powershift to organize, train, and working to ignite a movement …

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What a difference a year makes

Applying the lessons of Copenhagen in Cancun

In preparing for the upcoming climate talks in Cancun less than two weeks away, I can't help but look back at where things were a year ago. One year ago, the world's leaders couldn't stop talking about solving climate change. The media was in a frenzy, tallying up commitments from presidents and prime ministers to attend the Copenhagen negotiations, which would eventually lead toward perhaps the largest-ever gathering of heads of state. With all the attention, expectations were high. Leaders from Obama to Jintao to Chavez to Zenawi to Merkel had committed to reaching an agreement in Copenhagen that would …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Fun in the rain, boredom inside

G8 leaders stand still on climate; will G20 backtrack?

It was a tale of two cities Saturday in Toronto for this climate activist.  One of hope and the other of boredom. Saturday morning, I joined Greenpeace, Oxfam, the Canadian Labor Congress, and about 5,000 activists at a peaceful rally calling on G8 and G20 leaders to take stronger leadership on a variety of progressive issues.  Signs amidst the crowd were pushing issues ranging from climate and poverty alleviation to Tibetan freedom and bank reform.  It was an impressive mix of progressive activists all coming together to speak with one voice for global change. Despite the rain and nearly oppressive police presence, …

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It ain't 2009 anymore

Hoping for a shakeup at the G8/G20

I arrived in Toronto yesterday and, along with thousands of activists, media and government officials arriving for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits, was promplty greeted by an unusual earthquake centered a few hours away outside of Ottawa. Unfortunately, it seems that if the Canadian hosts have anything to do with it, that could be the only groundbreaking event I'll see this week when it comes to climate change. Over the past few days, official and leaked documents have been hitting the press that paint a sorry picutre, considering the pledges and promises of G8 and G20 leaders over the …

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It's not 2009 anymore

Hoping for a shakeup at the G8/G20

I arrived in Toronto yesterday and, along with thousands of activists, media, and government officials arriving for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits, was promplty greeted by an unusual earthquake centered a few hours away outside of Ottawa.  Unfortunately, if our Canadian hosts have their way, that could be the only groundbreaking event I'll witness this week. Over the past few days, official and leaked documents have been hitting the press that paint a sorry picture, considering the pledges and promises of G8 and G20 leaders over the past few years.  It's a startling fact that climate change is basically …

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2nd time a charm?

President Obama, give us hope again … this time in Copenhagen

On Nov. 4 2008, I was an American in Brussels as I watched Barack Obama turn red states blue and win the Presidency of the United States (not to worry, I waited in a two-hour line to vote absentee before I left the States!). I'll never forget the next morning, having coffee with a close friend from Trinidad who has spent her adult life in Europe.  She and I sat and beamed, uncontrollably giddy and excited, having stayed up all night watching the returns.  After eight long years, the nightmare was over.  And I'll always remember what she said to …

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Making Copenhagen FAB

Fair, ambitious & binding: Essentials for a successful climate deal

Working in a coalition of roughly 500 organizations from nearly 80 countries can be tough. With so many different points of view and unique perspectives and expertise, coming to agreement on something as complex as solving climate change can be difficult to say the least. But then again, isn't that what we're asking over 180 countries to do next month in Copenhagen? Well, I'm happy to say that at least as far as the Climate Action Network - International (CAN) is concerned, we've done our job and it's in the form of CAN's "Fair, Ambitious & Binding: Essentials for a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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From wreaths to positions

City preps and countries posture ahead of Copenhagen talks

As Copenhagen prepares for December, a strange combination of Christmas lights, clean energy expos, evergreen wreaths, and security barriers have begun to crop up around the city. It's an exciting time to be in Copenhagen reflecting on a year of intense pressure, activity, and engagement around the world. Over the past several months (and years), a growing movement has coalesced around the conference here next month and it's hard to believe it's finally almost here. In June, the sleepy German town of Bonn saw hundreds of activists descend in the rain upon the normally quiet Subsidiary Bodies negotiations at the …

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It ain't over yet

Rumors of Copenhagen’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

Waking up on a dreary Sunday morning this weekend in Copenhagen (where I've recently moved to prepare for the upcoming climate talks in December), I was met with a barrage of headlines, mostly from U.S. media, telling me that Copenhagen is doomed to total failure and I might as well head off to Mexico City where next year's summit will be held. The New York Times cried out: World Leaders Agree to Delay a Deal on Climate Change. The Washington Post bellowed: Copenhagen talks unlikely to yield climate accord, leaders told. Not the best way to start a Sunday morning. …

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Todd Stern’s speech cheers delegates at Bonn climate talks

This dispatch was filed from the ongoing U.N.-sponsored climate change talks in Bonn, Germany. As expected, Sunday's speech by Todd Stern at the U.N. climate talks in Bonn created quite a stir. Sitting in the rear of the hall, it was hard not to think back to the last time U.S. statements in a plenary hall provoked such a strong reaction -- when the U.S. delegation was loudly booed for blocking progress in Bali in 2007. This time the United States was cheered, and a wave of relief could be felt going through the room. The first cheer came even …

Read more: Climate & Energy