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China's UN Climate Change Conference: Less Talk, More Action

Despite the recent slew of natural disasters and extreme weather plaguing various parts of the world, optimism about the impact of this winter's annual climate change conference is scarce. Set to take place in Cancun, Mexico this November 29 - December 10, 2010, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16) is evoking eye-rolls and sighs over what's expected to be yet another failed attempt at securing a global treaty on combating climate change. This apprehension is a stark contrast to the passionate buzz surrounding last year’s talks in Copenhagen. The vigor with which many world leaders, organizations, and activists attended the uniquely accessible event in Denmark was truly inspiring, and could have instilled hope into the hearts of even the most skeptical of commentators -- if not for the disappointing outcome. Ultimately, only five nations, including the U.S. and China, had any real say in the document that emerged from Copenhagen, which left many unsatisfied with the resulting level of ambition and jurisdiction.

While the U.S. Congress was unable to pass legislation prior to last year's talks (which would have added much-needed clout to President Obama's resolve on combating climate change), the U.S. did pledge to help raise $100 billion in global climate aid for vulnerable countries, as part of the non-legally binding Copenhagen Accord. To date, however, little progress has been made towards raising these funds.

The Accord, described as flimsy and inadequate, did not elaborate on the “how”, so much as the “what”, particularly regarding the $100 billion pledge, and accountability for industrial nations setting limits on emissions to prevent a global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius. Thus, the focus of this year's conference will likely be on financing: who will be responsible for what, and how funds will be raised and allocated.

But will the talks result in significant emissions cuts and an effective pay system to compensate low-emitting countries who are hit hardest by climate change? Or will they remain just that…more talks? It's time rich and high-emitting countries, particularly those who tout their leadership roles, walk the walk, too. Last year, an unprecedented number of world leaders came to the table, which proves the urgency of climate change has been acknowledged.  Perhaps now that business leaders are starting to direct the conversation towards the economic opportunities that climate change affords (a language those rich and high-emitting countries standing in the way can understand well), that urgency can finally translate into a binding agreement.

Or, perhaps China will save the day as they host their own summit in Tianjin this October. These final preparatory sessions leading up to the Cancun talks present a unique opportunity for China to step up as a leader in achieving a binding climate treaty. China is already the biggest global player in clean energy, but unfortunately, it’s also the largest carbon emitter. Tune in to see what happens, when Link TV brings you live web coverage of the UN Climate Change Conference this October 4 to 9 in Tianjin, China, at LinkTV.org/Tianjin.

 
 

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Link TV Partners with TED on the Open TV Project

Link TV is proud to be part of the TED Open TV Project, a new content partnership announced recently at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. We will be one of the dozens of television broadcasters worldwide bringing TED's innovative talks -- on topics ranging from technology to design, from business to entertainment -- to the airwaves. With charismatic and brilliant speakers from the ranks of global trendsetters, changemakers and go-getters, TED's signature talks are inspiring, intriguing, and sometimes, in TED's own words, even "jaw-dropping." We at Link are thrilled by the opportunity to work with TED, and to add our own curatorial voice as a trusted, cross-cultural, independent media outlet in crafting a fantastic selection of these talks for our viewers. (In short: we REALLY think you're going to like this.)

Check back soon for more details on our broadcast launch. In the meantime, check out the great variety of talks on TED's website, and feel free to point out to us any talks that you enjoy in particular. Your favorites just might end up airing on Link TV!

 
 

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Link TV Featured as Guest on BronxNet!

Earlier this week, Jennifer Kirby, Link TV's COO, and I were invited to be guests on a show called Open at the local cable access channel BronxNet in the Bronx to talk about our organization and why we are partnered with so many PEG channels. Jennifer Kirby has been working with Link TV for many years, and she is as New York as you can get, having been born and raised in the city, with roots in every borough including her Italian side from the Bronx. It was very meaningful for her to be able to promote Link TV to this special community, and exciting for me to be a part of this incredible opportunity as well. You can watch our interview here (we come in at 27 minutes, but please, if you have time, enjoy the whole segment!):

 

 

Open is a weekly series on BronxNet that focuses on international news and gives voice to those who are marginalized in the diverse neighborhoods of the Bronx. The channel is received in 1.5 million households, 60% of which have been shown by independent marketing studies to be tuning in! Link TV is thrilled that BronxNet is airing explore three times a week, bringing Charlie Annenberg's global findings through his unique message of philanthropy, "Never Stop Learning", to the people of the Bronx. 

It was so much fun to meet the staff at BronxNet, to see their station, and witness the youth mentoring and media training program in action. BronxNet is the only public access station in the nation that operates six different channels, including one that is made by young people for young people! Now that Link TV has an engagement department that works with an active youth network of over 160,000 through YouthNoise, we are excited about all of the ways Link TV can engage the audiences and young media professionals who are trained through programs like this one at BronxNet. 

At the end of our interview, we were asked if BronxNet could put more Link TV programs on their channel... to which we gladly replied that they should take as much content as they possibly can! A special thank you goes out to their Executive Director, Michael Max Knobbe, who has kindly helped connect Link TV with the neighboring public access channels in both Queens and Brooklyn. Michael has been working at BronxNet for almost two decades, since before it was even BronxNet! This kind of dedication and longevity is not uncommon at public access stations. In fact, every single leader I've met in public access has been working for their channel for many, many years. The only other place I know of that retains employees to that extent is Link TV, which also is still run by the same people that started it over ten years ago. We could all probably get much higher paying jobs somewhere else in the media landscape, but the work that we do is so rewarding and important, I'm not sure any of us would feel like ourselves if we were to leave it behind.  And so we are proud to keep moving things forward, protecting independent media, alternative information, and freedom of expression. 

Thanks for checking in, and please come back soon for our next update on Public Access where Link TV is able to be a part of thinking globally, and acting locally!

 
 

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Post-Copenhagen: What Now?

With all the reports, controversy, and rumors that have been swirling over the past two weeks, it's been a challenge keeping up with and making sense of what really went down in Copenhagen. Various parties involved hold very contrasting views over how negotiations turned out. China, UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon and even the vulnerable country of Bangladesh took a positive outlook, while Sweden, Bolivia, Brazil and others felt the resolution was unacceptable and demanded much stronger regulations and emissions cuts than what the U.S.-brokered "Copenhagen Accord", reached Saturday, calls for. Nonetheless, here is an attempt to break down the accord, in terms of both potential pros and cons:

PROS: During negotiations major countries, including China, the U.S., India and Europe, agreed that the risks of climate change could not be left unchecked. Included in the final Copenhagen Accord was a goal to restrict global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. Another section of the accord covers the commitment to support climate change adaptation projects in developing countries through a collective international fund of $100 billion per year until 2020.

CONS: The non-legally binding Copenhagen Accord, however, was not adopted by the UN -- only "taken note of" -- and it was not supported by all countries represented at negotiations. The accord was labeled by the Sudanese Chairman of the G77, the largest developing country bloc represented at the COP15, as comparable to a "suicide pact" -- which he would not be entering into. Also, the accord's emissions targets do not fall in line with what science says is necessary to actually meet the goal of keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.

While this may be oversimplifying things, all in all it seems that though hopes for a global treaty were high prior to last week's summit (a potential climax of decades of debate), realistic expectations were probably quite a bit lower. Perhaps a more realistic goal for the close of Copenhagen was the laying of groundwork necessary to continue talks of a binding treaty into 2010. This goal may indeed have been realized, as historically speaking no preceding summit has reached such a consensus on the urgency of climate change. As stated by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, "We now have a package to work with and begin immediate action.” Only time will tell.

For more on the summit outcome via a first-hand account from the Mother Nature Network's blogger Karl Burkart, click here.

 
 

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Last Day at Copenhagen: Deal or No Deal?

With the scheduled close of the Copenhagen summit today, world leaders have begun to depart from the now notorious Denmark capital. However, results of the two-week long negotiations are still unknown, with a final agreement -- political, binding, or otherwise -- yet to be released. The UN has asked parties to stay on overnight in a last-ditch effort to reach a deal, an effort some say is a lost cause.

According to the UNFCCC, the latest draft text to be leaked, which latest rumors say may be signed by remaining parties, includes grossly inadequate emissions reductions that would still result in a devastating global temperature rise of over 3 degrees, and an atmospheric CO2 level of 550 parts per million -- at best.

And, while the U.S. has pledged to work towards the goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 for adaptation in vulnerable communities, the actual dollar amount the U.S. is pledging to contribute to this goal was left unmentioned. This pledge was also made under the condition that it would be part of a broader accord.

While the outcome of Copenhagen hangs in the balance, Link TV will continue to bring you LIVE coverage of events, and unique content about climate change. Check out the results of last week's News Hunt from our partners at News Trust, which looked at a wide range of topics that helped put the Copenhagen conference in context.

 

 
 

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