mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Reason for Optimism at Cancun Climate Summit?

My analysis of the Cancun climate summit, published December 14, 2010 in The Nation:

“You have been negotiating all my life,” 21-year-old Mima Haider of Lebanon told delegates at the United Nations climate negotiations in Cancún. “You cannot tell me you need more time.” But that’s pretty much what they did tell her, and the rest of us. True, some important agreements were reached in Cancún. Rich countries reaffirmed their legal obligation to help poor countries fight climate change, and even promised sizable sums toward that end. The Cancún Agreements oblige rich countries to contribute $30 billion in new aid over the next three years—growing to $100 billion a year by 2020—to a Green Climate Fund. This fund will help developing countries both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and install protections against the floods, droughts and other climate impacts that disproportionately punish the global poor.

But on the key questions determining whether children in rich and poor countries alike inherit a livable climate—how much will global emissions be reduced, and by when?—negotiators kicked the ball down the road….




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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.