Washington Babylon — December 21, 2009, 11:17 am

Toxic Green Cloud Over Copenhagen

Wonkette had a funny pre-climate change summit item about members of Congress, even conservative Republicans, fighting to go to Copenhagen. The story was headlined “Not EVERYONE In Congress Can Go On Class Trip To Denmark.” Last week, twenty House members joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a junket to Copenhagen, where they accomplished absolutely nothing.

The same battle for a ticket to the summit took place at environmental groups around Washington (and the world), and green groups also didn’t accomplish anything in Copenhagen, other than burning vast quantities of jet fuel to get there. Two people I know described a generalized clamor among D.C.-based greens to trek off to Copenhagen, with the World Resources Institute alone reportedly sending a delegation of about two dozen people.

Mostly the green groups sat around and waited to be briefed about the summit proceedings by the official delegations, then sent out emails asking their members to contact President Obama and demand action (or, in the case of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, to send a video message to its “Repower Wall” and tell world leaders “that you are committed to bold action on climate in America.”)

Was the summit outcome changed in any way by the presence of thousands of greens from the U.S., and around the world? Not likely by one bit, other than for propping up the Danish hotel, restaurant and bar industries. An international group called Avaaz.org sent out a mass email Sunday claiming victory even though world leaders “reached a weak agreement in Copenhagen that fails to set the emissions targets needed to prevent catastrophic global warming”:

But while leaders failed to make history, people around the world did. In thousands of vigils, rallies and protests, hundreds of thousands of phone calls, and millions of petition signatures, an unprecedented movement rose to this moment. After hearing the result of the talks, one member from Africa wrote “It takes a lot to get an elephant moving, but when you do it is hard to stop…the elephant is moving…”

And of course there was a link to click on “to say ‘thank-you’ to all the other amazing people who participated, see pictures, video and reports on what we’ve done in the last week, and join a global, instant translation multilingual live chat where we can all exchange words of wisdom for the road ahead.”

I witnessed a similar phenomenon in Brazil in 1992, when I was a reporter for the Associated Press during the Earth Summit. Thousands and thousands of greens poured in for that affair, spending enough organizational and personal money to preserve most of the Amazon rain forest.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open for fundraising letters from all those green groups on their way home from Copenhagen. Somebody has to pick up the Danish bar tab.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

July 2016

The Ideology of Isolation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

American Idle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

My Holy Land Vacation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The City That Bleeds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

El Bloqueo

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Vladivostok Station

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
My Holy Land Vacation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"I wanted to more fully understand why conservative politics had become synonymous with no-questions-asked support of Israel."
Illustration (detail) by Matthew Richardson
Post
Inside the July Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Tom Bissell on touring Israel with Christian Zionists, Joy Gordon on the Cuban embargo, Lawrence Jackson on Freddie Gray and the makings of an American uprising, a story by Paul Yoon, and more

Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.

The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.

Artwork: Camels, Jerusalem (detail) copyright Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
Post
Europe’s Hamilton Moment·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"We all know in France that as soon as a politician starts saying that some problem will be solved at the European level, that means no one is going to do anything."
Photograph (detail) by Stefan Boness
[Report]
How to Make Your Own AR-15·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Even if federal gun-control advocates got everything they wanted, they couldn’t prevent America’s most popular rifle from being made, sold, and used. Understanding why this is true requires an examination of how the firearm is made.
Illustration by Jeremy Traum
Article
The City That Bleeds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing."
Photograph (detail) © Wil Sands/Fractures Collective

Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:

1,146

Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.

A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today