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Hope for climate talks to enlighten public on global warming

In the leading article of Science magazine’s current issue, the editor urges more effort from the scientific community to enlighten the public on the issues pertaining to global warming.
To assure within our generation that the global temperature rise not exceed 2 degrees Celsius at the most, the editor warns, is the coming generations’ only hope for avoiding “very serious consequences” of climate destabilization that would jeopardize their welfare and life as we know it.
Denial of cooperation in the world community’s efforts to combat climate change had marked the previous U.S. administration.
In 2008, a new president offered such cooperation and action, in order, in his words, that “the rise of the oceans [will] slow and our planet [begin] to heal.”
His first year in office saw introduction of climate legislation embodying a market-principle model, used by the elder President Bush in renewing the Clean Air Act, of mandating caps on the emissions of the greenhouse gases, while industry itself works out the implementation details in reducing these, or pays for pollution credits where reductions seem unfeasible.
Succeeding in the House, even though opposed by every member of the Republican party, the legislation stymied and eventually died in the U.S. Senate
That body’s Republican members insisting on green washing (e.g. as “clean coal” or “no-emissions nuclear power”) old power sources instead of moving to the safe, home-grown, clean and durable energy technologies of the future.
At the international Climate Change Conference a year ago, world leaders struggled to reach a binding agreement to stem greenhouse gas emissions beyond the Kyoto-treaty terms when these expire (2012).
Senate passage of the climate legislation still in the balance, the Obama administration made timid commitments in Copenhagen, low in aspirations for a U.S. role in shouldering the burdens involved.
Failure of an effective climate protection treaty was the result.
In Cancun, Mexico, through this week, representatives of 194 nations are meeting again with the same goal–an agreement on realistic and effective steps, with cooperation by all, to stem the risk of runaway climate destabilization with its dire consequences for future people.
No better time for such talks, one might think, after a year recorded as the hottest ever, with emissions of the planet-warming gases the highest ever, with fires, floods and other climate disasters of unprecedented scale occurring in many parts of the world.
No worse time either, one might fear, for the prospects of more positive cooperation from the one nation whose citizens’ contribution to the causes of the problem still far exceeds that of any other.
“Welcome to your freshman class of climate deniers,” the Union of Concerned Scientists alerted its members after the recent elections, these having swelled in the U.S. Congress the ranks of those who don’t believe — “by any stretch of the imagination” — that the climate crisis is real or action to stem it warranted.
For the scientists, indeed, much more work is ahead, within a window of time that could be closing all too soon.