Leading in Bali

Delegates from ~180 countries met in Bali this past week to begin negotiations on a new international climate change agreement to follow the Kyoto protocol which expires in 2012.

The government of the United States of America, of the country that produces the most CO2 in the world, sent its delegates to Bali with instructions to block agreement on setting goals for reducing CO2 emissions.

I am embarrassed by my government as they "go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent."

Al Gore stole the show with a 52 minute speech (full video here on Energy Policy TV). The full speech was hard to find, but it's much more impressive than the dozens of easily found short clips from this speech suggest. The short ones contain inspirational quotes. The parts where Gore said things like "My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress in Bali."

But when you watch the full speech, you'll find a lot more substance. Gore gives examples about how everything from climate change to economics to wars to our standard of living are all tied together. He gives reason for action and reasons for hope. It's an inspirational speech.

About 27 minutes in he mentioned the 350,000 Americans that "contacted him" (I'm assuming he meant via this petition) asking the US government to support action for addressing climate change. I signed that petition before his speech.

While it sounds like a simple thing to do, (compared to changing light-bulbs or switching to tap water) clicking a link and adding my name to a petition is an important and powerful action to take. It's only through citizens voicing their opinions, sharing ideas, and demanding change that the elected officials of the United States will find the political-will they need to change our country's direction, and start acting as a true leader in addressing global climate change.