On the Case

The Green Detectives

Valerie Davis and Kevin Tuerff
Valerie Davis and Kevin Tuerff (Photo by John Anderson)

The Green Detectives website (www.greendetectives.net), created here in town, offers an unusually accessible portal for people just tuning in to basic U.N. Climate Change Conference (or COP15) terminology and issues. Austinites Kevin Tuerff and Valerie Davis give short and sweet explanations of key COP15 terms and issues. The site's Green Detective Decoder offers two-minute videos on these and other topics.

Catch a Few Clues:

What is "climate adaptation"? "Climate adaptation is a polite way of saying it's too late to stop global warming, so how are we gonna cope? Industry, business, government, and you and I need a plan for how to adapt. ... Americans will undoubtedly find ways to adapt, but for developing and poor countries, life is getting even worse. And once again, it's all about money."

What is "REDD"? "Climate experts say up to 20 percent of the carbon emitted globally is caused by deforestation. ... Climate negotiators formally adopted the idea of providing financial incentives to get developing countries to preserve their forests. That means developed countries like ours would need to ante up. The climate jargon you should know is REDD ... or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation."

What is "cap and trade"? "When it comes to capping carbon emissions that cause climate change, energy-intensive industries will have the greatest challenges with compliance. Cap and trade is one solution that provides economic incentives to businesses that pollute less, while providing flexibility to those that struggle the most with carbon limitations. ... The end result? Cap and trade will generate a trillion-dollar carbon marketplace."

What is "climate finance"? "It's the poor countries that are paying for ... climate repercussions like rising sea levels, droughts, floods, famine, and disease. Climate negotiators are saying developed countries like ours should help those countries that didn't create the problem but are coping with its side effects. ... Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. climate talks, says developed countries need to pony up $10 billion a year to deal with the effects of climate change."

What is "technology transfer"? "Here in the U.S., we all hear about electric vehicles and renewable energy power, like wind power. But what about the poor or developing countries that take the brunt of the effects of climate change? ... That's where the term 'technology transfer' comes in. ... Time will tell if we'll apply the kind of international funding we've seen for AIDS to technological relief for countries coping the most with climate-related problems."

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Katherine Gregor
Climate Protection: City in No Hurry To Cool It
Climate Protection: City in No Hurry To Cool It
Checking in on the Climate Protection Program's progress – or lack thereof

Aug. 6, 2010

Climate Change Crosses County Lines
Climate Change Crosses County Lines
Study predicts how climate change will affect Texas' future water needs

July 30, 2010

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle