The LA Times has a headline: Climate Talks Deadlocked as Clashes Erupt Outside
I think we were very fortunate in the 1980s. Of course the stakes weren't so high and the issue was hardly as global. When I was going to meetings in London to amend The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by the Dumping of Waste and other Matter based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's work to revise criteria for the disposal of radioactive waste into the oceans, Greenpeace organized active protests in front of the building where we met. One morning I was greeted with 55-gallon drums with the words "dump the IAEA" on it. I thought it pretty clever wording, but it had little effect, I still continued to serve as the IAEA representative.
The protesters in Copenhagen want to dump the official delegates and do the work themselves. It's an interesting concept and has some things of merit, but not likely to work very well. The reason international agreements are so difficult is that so many interests are at stake. Our Bishop has a book discussion going on-line with the book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope by Brian D. McLaren. I rather like McLaren's somewhat simplistic Three Subsystems in Society that help to form a "suicide machine": the prosperity system, the security system and the equity system. When these systems are not functioning in an interactive way with each system checking the others, bad things happen. He goes on to point out that there are of course other factors, our environment, for example. We take in heat from the sun and we generate heat from other sources. The heat needs to go somewhere. We pollute in lots of other ways, too. I do wish I had more time to write about this, but it will have to wait at least until I get going on my trip west.
In the article quoted at the start of this post i was taken with the following statement: "Much of the uncertainty in the Copenhagen talks stems from how slowly the first U.S. legislation to cap carbon dioxide emissions is moving through Congress. Passage of a U.S. climate change bill is expected no earlier than next spring -- and many other nations are unwilling to make their final commitments until the U.S. does."