NGOs put pressure on for strong climate deal in Cancun
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11/30/10 Kelly Benjamin
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

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WMNF's Kelly Benjamin is in Cancun, Mexico reporting on this year's United Nations Climate Change Summit thanks to a fellowship from the Earth Journalism Network.

Today he spoke with several NGO representatives on what they are doing to push for stronger commitments from nations and a legally binding global agreement on Climate Change.

Negotiators from more than 190 countries are meeting in Cancun over the next two weeks to come up with a solid plan to address global warming. They are joined by representatives of dozens of non-governmental organizations. One of them is May Bouve, a coordinator with 350.org.

"We're an international climate change campaign and 350 stands for the safe level of carbon in the atmosphere. We come to the UN talks because it's a really important venue for the grassroots climate change movement that's emerging around the world. Our work centers around what happens outside of these meetings, around really trying to build a grassroots movement around that's really committed to climate solutions but at these talks it really provides an important opportunity to come face to face with the politicians who are making a decision around the international treaty."

Also with 350.org is Marcelo Quintanilla. He finds it ironic that the climate change conference is in Cancun, a town not known for being environmentally conscious.

"All the local environmentalists, they are saying 'how can we help?' We are holding a COP here in Cancun and we have been listening to all of these issues that are concerning out city. All of these developments that we started in Cancun. ... used to be a small nice town, more eco-friendly town and now it's such a developed city, again we're consuming to lose, we're getting all the costs of a developed country, you can even pay in dollars. We're losing, not just even on the environment side, it's our nation, our culture, and a lot of things. It's seems like this is the real thing that tourists come to look for."

Paul Horsman is a Global Campaign Coordinator with tcktcktck, an alliance of 250 NGOs who are pushing the UN for a strong deal on climate change.

"There is a paradigm shift happening and one of the ways that the tcktcktck campaign is operating is actually telling stories about what people are doing in their own lives, in their own communities around the world in living with climate change. The debate about climate change, whether or not it's happening is over. That's not the issue, the issue is, what are we going to do about it. The tcktcktck campaign has been gathering stories with people everywhere. They're putting solar panels up, they're installing windmills, they're changing light bulbs, they're buying smaller cars. People are actually getting out there and beginning to change their lives because they know, and can see, we're living in a world where the climate is changing. So I believe that that paradigm shift is happening at that kind of level. What that is not being turned into is the political action that is necessary and that's where the important thing is."

Previous WMNF coverage of COP 16

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What... the UN HQ isn't good enough???

Bill McKibben… founder of 350.org… said it best... “The environmental movement isn't big enough. It's one of the most selfless of advocacy efforts. But the movement has been sized to save whales and build national parks and force carmakers to stick catalytic converters on exhaust systems. It's nowhere near big enough to take on the fossil fuel industry, the biggest player in our global economy. It's like sending the Food and Drug Administration to fight the war in Afghanistan…” And personally… I believe that as long as the United Nations Climate Change Summit keeps on meeting for 2 weeks in places like… Cancun, Copenhagen, Poznan, Bali, Nairobi, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Milan, New Delhi, Morocco, and many others including the famous… Kyoto in 1997… people like me are going to continue to view the “summit” as a 2 week vacation for the “elites on the left”… and the “environmental movement” will grow no larger than a small tribe of tree hugging dirt worshippers from the 60’s. In other words… the “environmentalists” need to practice what they preach… starting from the TOP and work its way down. The UN has a perfectly good building in NYC…