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With Copenhagen Summit Approaching, Leading Polluters US and China Undercut Hopes of Substantial Pollution Cuts

Has the UN climate summit in New York just set the stage for disappointment in Copenhagen?

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ANJALI KAMAT: Anna Pinto, very quickly, you're in Pittsburgh for the G-20. Do you have any hope that the G-20 is going to address the issues you're here for?

ANNA PINTO: I believe that they will attempt to address some of the questions as they see them. I do not think that their perspectives will coincide with the kind of approach I'm talking about.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to bring Ted Glick into the conversation, policy director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Ted, the global picture right now around climate change, and what you think needs to happen, as we move from the UN climate change summit to the G-20 meeting -- and there are also mass protests outside in Pittsburgh -- to Copenhagen?

TED GLICK: Well, I thought, in terms of what happened at the United Nations, one of the underreported presentations was one made by the President, Mohamed Nasheed, of the Maldives, where he said something to the effect that we come to these conferences, we rail against the injustices, we go back home, things cool off, and the world continues as before. And he's right.

It's not that there isn't some change; there certainly are. There's more renewable energy being built and developed in various places around the world, even in the United States. There are changes that are happening. But by and large, given the seriousness and the severity of this crisis and the fact that it's here -- this is not something off in the future -- the response just is not sufficient.

And I have to say, I include, when I say that, those who see themselves as progressive activists, as people who care about justice, as people who believe that we need to organize and mobilize to bring about change. Fortunately, there are opportunities this fall for all of us who get it, who are getting it, on the severity of this and the immediacy and the urgency of it, to take action.

Most immediately, October 24th is an international day of action being organized by 350.org. There are literally 115 countries, 1,500 actions all around the world happening on that day. That's a very important action, a very important way to keep building momentum towards Copenhagen.

There's civil disobedience, nonviolent civil disobedience, happening on November 30th around the world, being organized by the Mobilization for Climate Justice.

And then, during the Copenhagen talks themselves, in the middle of it, on Saturday, December 12th, is a global day of action being organized by the Global Climate Campaign, the Global Campaign for Climate Action, and many other groups.

So there are major opportunities for the -- from the grassroots, from below, to bring the kind of pressure that absolutely needs to be brought. There is movement. There has been movement on this issue for years, including in the United States, but it's absolutely time to step it up and to magnify it and intensify it. That's what we need.

AMY GOODMAN: And the position of the US Congress and the Obama administration, Ted Glick?

TED GLICK: The Obama administration certainly gets the issue in a way that the Bush administration did not. There's no question that some things are happening that are positive.

The problem is that the US Congress continues to be a stronghold of the coal interests and oil interests. You know, coal and oil has a major stranglehold over Capitol Hill. And again, that's why mobilization is critical. We're not going to solve this problem, unless we can break that stranglehold, unless we can get the kind of legislation that really begins to move us seriously off of coal, ends the building of any new coal plants, gets us onto a clean energy trajectory. Again, that won't happen without significant mobilization on a broad scale.

 
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