Saturday, January 18, 2014

IPCC 2009: Memories of times past and time lost

In 2009, I had the privilege of working with Donald Brown, who has a new book and also writes of Dr. Robert Brulle's new study documenting the immorality of climate deniers and their funding, Chris Cuomo and others on the press release of the Ethics Committee that was delivered at COP15 in Copenhagen for the IPCC, when I was a formal observer for the University of Colorado. The following iteration was one of the versions I worked on then. Shortly afterwards, as I blogged in the High Tide COP15 Project, the Danish government went into full panic mode. Police attacked peaceful demonstrators. They shut down the conference, and everyone went home.  The global fossil fuel industries went to work on smear and disinformation campaigns against activists and scientists alike. The world has squandered precious time and lives while climate change has accelerated. J'accuse the fossil fuel industry for their frantic, amoral scramble to amass ever greater profits at the expense of the entire world.

                                  Press Release

Press Conference on Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change
Friday, December 11, 2009 9:30 am, Press Conference Room

The Crucial Missing Element in the Climate Change Negotiations: Duties and Responsibilities, Not Just Narrow National Economic Interest.

Ethics is a practical issue. Tuvalo’s demand for a binding agreement illustrated the Ethical challenges of the negotiations. To make climate justice operational, ethics issue must be included in the text. Ethicists from around the world call on those nations opposing meaningful commitments. Do you deny duties and responsibilities to:

- Tens of millions of Africans whose food and water supply is threatened by increasing drought
- Small island states who see their very existence jeopardized by rising seas
- Much of central Asia faces losing their fresh water supply as the Himalayan glaciers melt
Many parties continue to justify their positions in climate change negotiations based on their economic interests alone. Climate change is a matter of justice and morality. COP15 commitments must take responsibility, to protect the poorest peoples and richest ecosystems, who will suffer the direst consequences of climate change.

The COP15 is struggling with the gap between commitments and implementation. Previous failures have created a lack of trust in the process. Parties need to agree on how to make climate justice operational in the text. This press conference examines how nations must negotiate if they acknowledge their duties and responsibilities

-   to prevent dangerous climate change
-   to pay for harms caused by high levels of greenhouse gas emissions
-   to prevent deforestation programs
-   to enable transfer of sustainable energy technologies to poor nations.

This press conference will assist the media in understanding how some parties are taking ethical responsibility while others employ naked self-interest to justify their negotiating positions.    

The press conference has been called by the Collaborative Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change (EDCC. EDCC is a program comprised of 17 institutions around the world working on climate change ethics and whose secretariat is the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University. Other members of the EDCC include the IUCN Ethics Working Group, the Bahai, etc, etc, and individual ethicists from around the world working on the ethical dimensions of climate change. Interested individuals can contact EDCC program coordinator Don Brown at or Dr. Nancy Tuana, Director of the Rock Ethics Institute  at Penn State University at

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