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Question for Greenpeace, Eating Apple Cake: A Good Day

12/06/09

The best part of today was getting to hear a speech from Kumi Naidoo, the new executive director of Greenpeace International . The second best part was getting to eat pie and cake made by our host family with fresh apples from the orchard in their backyard. While the latter tastes delicious, I’ll write about the former, a slightly more relevant story for our climate change blog.

The guy was impressive. He worked against apartheid in South Africa from 1965 to the mid-nineties, and he was most recently the chair of Tck Tck Tck, a campaign aimed at uniting environmental organizations and educating others about the urgency for a successful Copenhagen conference.

After a rousing speech, we had a Q and A session. I asked this question:

“I go to school in Indiana, the heart of opposition to climate change legislation. In June most environmental organizations sent e-mails to me urging support for the cap and trade bill, while Greenpeace declared its opposition because the legislation did not reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough. If the negotiations produce a treaty with reductions that do not match the science, will Greenpeace again urge opposition?”

Naidoo answering by first stating that all of the environmental organizations are united on the ideal: 40% reductions below 1990 emission levels by developed countries (the U.S.’s current offer is 3%). He sidestepped the rest of my question by saying we must keep pushing and pushing for the best until the very end. I understand his position. When everyone’s lamenting how no countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough, someone needs to push for a true vision. But the question of how much environmental NGOs are willing to compromise the ideal remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether a split develops between the groups on whether to support a Copenhagen treaty or not.

Well, another piece of apple cake can’t hurt. . .

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