Pulitzer Center Update

In Focus: Breakthrough or Bust at COP15?

Summer Marion, Pulitzer Center

(Editor's note: This is a new feature on Untold Stories, highlighting insightful, compelling, or just plain engaging, reporting that we've encountered as we search the Web. We hope to make the roundup a weekly feature -- and of course we welcome your comments and suggestions.)


Five in the afternoon in downtown Copenhagen, by Jeffrey Barbee, a Pulitzer Center grantee

Debate on results of the Copenhagen climate change conference broke out just as the conference itself was winding down, in a flurry of charges and counter-charges that generated more heat than light. Friday evening's barrage of emotive speeches sparked by opposition from Cuba and Tuvalu generated reports that G77 countries rejected Obama's Copenhagen Accords one of the most common misportrayals in COP15 coverage according to Sam Hummel of It's Getting Hot in Here.

The conference generated an impressive breadth of media coverage, spawned by the climate campaign's evolution into a popular movement. Orville Schell of Yale Environment 360 provides insight into the limits of and possible alternatives to greening foreign aid; Michael Davidson offers a glimpse into COP15's agrarian implications for rural China in The Green Leap Forward; and Climate Feedback's Olive Heffernan caught snippets from celebrity attendees like author Tom Friedman and Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

Pointing to concessions by India and China, hopeful analysts like Grist's Daniel Weiss call the conference a diplomatic stepping stone, paving the way for the passage of domestic climate change legislation in the U.S. Hardcore environmentalists like DeSmogBlog's Kevin Grandia assert that the absence of enforcement mechanisms or a concrete timeline suggest yet another instance of passing the buck in global environmental governance. Hopenhagen, as the accompanying climate change petition was dubbed, just may live up to its name.