Climate talks are moving more slowly than glaciers now. Rather than wait, elected officials and local advocates have taken matters into their own hands. And the newest innovator on the block is the City of Mountain View.
The key question, at this point, is whether the Durban outcome has put the world in a place and on a trajectory whereby it is more likely than it was previously to establish a sound foundation for meaningful long-term action.
The EU, Australia, and a few others will continue to attempt unilateral cuts to their emissions, but the leading polluters, China, India and the U.S., will not make substantive emissions cuts until at least a decade from now.
Furnished with an increasing body of irrefutable information, it's more than understandable why Durban-born, 24-year-old Priscilla wonders why our governments are still struggling to find a political solution to the climate challenge.
It is easy to reconcile the act of waiting until 2020 in an air-conditioned hall. It is easy to vote against the Kyoto Protocol when you've never pulled your children out of the remains of your house after a rainstorm washed it away.
Ok, so we pulled a fast one on you. There is no asteroid projected to destroy the planet by 2017 -- but there might as well be. This time frame and the threats being posed to our way of life are indisputably real.
It's time to shift the discussion to what people hold dearest, for these are the things in play in the coming decades. We evidently agree now that global warming is real. Now, it's time to move on and discuss what's really at stake.
In spite of the treacherously slow pace of these negations, and the ever-present danger that the whole process might collapse, there are more attractive snapshots to convey from this littoral city than just its beautiful beaches.
Corporate power has occupied the atmosphere. 2011 showed we could fight back. 2012 would be a good year to step up the pressure. Because this time next year the Global Carbon Project will release another number. And I'm betting it will be grim.
The global community has never been as transparently interdependent as it is today. I know that will be particularly clear for those of us in Durban, South Africa, for two weeks of international dialogue on a future pact to tackle global warming.
The story on the failure of the industrial world to keep the promise that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton flew to Copenhagen two years ago to make -- that $100 billion in climate aid would be provided to the poor nations -- is titled "A Pledge That Didn't Meet Its Potential."
The window of opportunity to deal with climate change in a sensible way is closing quickly. We have already reached 1°C of warming and the impacts are already being felt in the form of drought, heat waves and extreme precipitation.