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Thursday, December 31,2009

A look back at the Aughts

By Pamela White

2007: Climate change efforts

It’s been 10 years since the Kyoto Accord was struck. Why has so little been accomplished?

Dec. 20, 2007

At Boulder Weekly, this was the year of writing about climate change and environmental efforts. Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth had just come out the year before, and cover stories included “Green gear: The outdoor industry works toward a new environmental ethic” on May 10 and “The global warming debate:

For three weeks, EcoArts and other Boulder nonprofits hope to spark dialogue about the impact of climate change,” on Sept. 6.

And at the end of the year, Boulder Weekly finished 2007 with two more cover stories devoted to climate change and those trying to stop it.

In “Getting warmer,” Bill McKibben opened with a question. “The Kyoto Accord began the race to halt global warming. On its 10th anniversary, why are we barely past the starting gate?” Those 10 years were the warmest on record, and in those 10 years we learned that we had underestimated the speed and size of that warming. Despite the passage of local and state laws targeting carbon emissions, there was deafening silence from the nation’s capital, McKibben wrote.

But there was some good news. He cited technological advances such as hybrid cars, the popularity of Gore’s movie and the rise of environmental activist groups.

He concluded with the cold, hard truth: “Chemistry and physics don’t bargain. They don’t compromise. They don’t meet us halfway. We’ll do it or we won’t. And 10 years from now, we’ll know which path we chose.”

In “Behold the power of science” on Dec. 27, which was about Boulder Weekly’s first-ever Person of the Year, Pamela White interviewed Boulder atmosheric scientist Susan Solomon, who was chosen to co-chair Working Group 1 of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore that year. She is also credited with discovering the cause of the ozone hole, an achievement that earned her the National Medal of Science, the United States’ highest scientific honor. In the interview, Solomon described the findings of the IPCC, the scientific research process and her role as a leading woman in science.

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