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Erika Rosenthal's blog

The UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.

After a long slog in overtime, the gavel came down at the UN climate talks in Lima in the wee hours last Sunday. Reviews are wildly mixed, with some heralding a major step toward a new global regime and others despairing that governments, beholden to fossil fuel interests, are committing us to a calamitous future. 

Children in Haiti hold up signs urging the international community to take action on climate change.

Formally released today at the United Nations Climate Summit, Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change: A Near-Term Actionable Mitigation Agenda was commissioned by the Republic of Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and written by 30 leading climate and energy experts from around the world.


The news out of the Rio+20 Earth Summit has been bleak. World leaders, yet again caught in the headlights of financial crises and electoral cycles, fundamentally failed us and the planet. However, there is a bright spot—and it is blue. Both the formal Rio text and the voluntary, on-the-ground and on the water commitments nations made, are a reason for hope.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, announced a program, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, today to reduce methane, soot and other pollutants. The United States is jumpstarting the program by contributing $12 million over the next two years.

"By focusing on these pollutants, how to reduce them and, where possible, to use them for energy, people will see results," Clinton said at a news conference today in Washington D.C.

(Earthjustice attorney Erika Rosenthal is attending the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa. This is the first in a series of blogs she will be filing from the conference.)

“We will succeed together, or we will fail together.”
– Sprent Dabwido, President of Nauru, Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States

From the Kangerlussuaq airport, at 67 degrees North in Greenland...

It’s four hours to New York and five to Moscow, but only three to the North Pole. People are speaking Danish and the language of the Inuit people. I’m writing at the airport on my way home from the Arctic Council ministerial meeting, held in the capital, Nuuk, about 45 minutes south by plane. The Greenlandic landscape is stark and beautiful and resplendent in ice and snow over the rolling hills and craggy mountains.

(Editor's Note: Earthjustice attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal are back from participating at the United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. This is their assessment of what happened.)

In the early morning hours of December 11, the nations of the world concluded the U.N. climate change conference by adopting a set of decisions that lays the foundation for the world to tackle climate change in the future, while taking modest but critical steps forward on key issues.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.