A blogpost by Dan Kammen in the "Copenhagen Arena"

December, 2009
The pledge by Secretary of State Clinton is a piece of substantive news, and is important. More broadly, President Obama, supported by efforts this kind from the U. S. Secretaries in attendance can shift the landscape to one that recognizes the legitimate and immediate concerns of developing nations that climate change is already impacting their economies and basic human livliehoods in direct ways.

The overall problem that this COP has highlighted is, however, very simple: the negotiations, while taking fairly predictable paths in a purely political sense, are not yet in tune with the language that really matters - the language and the timetable of nature.

To bridge the divide we nee to see significant progress not only on financial means to deal with and adapt to climate change, but efforts to deveop a currency that reflects the climate and the environment. That language, as we understand it is a cost for carbon pollution. We do need a global accord, but we most critically need as many economies as possible to reflect the value of nature in their economic decisions. This is why state, federal, regional, and global agreements to impose a carbon cost are the #1 issue that can can not be shuttled aside for further, lengthy negotiations.

The issues of intellectual property rights, verification of emissions (and emission reductions, and all the other very important issues are just that, important), but we must get on with the process of imposing economic costs on greenhouse gas pollution. President Obama, and other heads of state - as well as regional, state, provincial governors, and city mayors can all work towards this vital goal: implementing costs on pollution.

Only by this process can we both reset the landscape to bring the innovative power and capacity of industry firmly into the process of creating a low-carbon economy. In this effort squabbles between 'developed' and 'developing' (something that now makes less and less sense -- really high and low emitting entities is the new issue) absolutely miss the point: we all must move our economies to reflect nature.

On, and by the way, to become innovative, lean, job creating, and protecting of the environment and the generations to come.

President Obama can alter the landscape in favor of this new currency of the environment and of our future by working with those companies, individuals, NGOs and critically states, nations and regions that get on with the business of the 21st century: a price on carbon.