Global environmental challenges
Polar bears and a cactus urge climate action in Bonn
The cactus costume with the sign “water me” was my favourite (left).
Too many protesters at U.N. meetings dress up as polar bears — the bears’ icy habitat is coming under threat from receding ice. So to get the polar-bear-weary delegates’ attention, a bit of variety is a good idea, even though it’s probably harder to make people feel sorry for a prickly plant than an iconic Arctic predator.
Environmentalists want developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
The United States, even with President Barack Obama’s promises to do far more to fight climate change, says such a goal is impossible. U.S. delegates say even cutting back to 1990 levels by 2020 – a reduction of 14 percent from 2007 levels — is a stretch in an economy dependent on fossil fuels.
So what should the United States and other developed countries do at the June 1-12 talks as part of a new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in December?
Will they make the cactus happy?