Protests, international conference focus on U.S. climate stubbornness

How many delegates does it take to convince the U.S. to address climate change? No one knows, but the 5,000 gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for the latest U.N. climate conference are giving it a shot. The two-week event opened today with remarks from Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori: “We are all gathered this morning on behalf of mankind because we acknowledge that climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most serious threats humanity will ever face.” U.S. negotiator Harlan Watson didn’t get the hint, telling those assembled that the U.S., despite shunning Kyoto, is controlling emissions better than some other countries and isn’t likely to accept mandatory cuts. This despite the growing fury represented by thousands who protested political foot-dragging this weekend in locales from London (20,000-plus) to Melbourne (30,000-plus) to Taiwan, Sweden, and the U.S. One Canadian protester said climate apathy was “like calling 911 and being put on hold.” Man, those Canadians are needy.