In Hong Kong and Thinking About Copenhagen & Climate Change

Today I was invited to speak and participate in the “Hong Kong Copenhagen Climate Change Webinar” held in the grand Council Chamber of Hong Kong Baptist University to discuss the Copenhagen Climate talks. As you might expect, much discussion was about the substance and process of the last-minute “Copenhagen Accord.” Speakers on the Hong Kong side included myself, Professor Michael DeGolyer (Hong Kong Baptist University), William Yu (World Wildlife Federation), and Dr. Glenn Shive (Executive Director, Hong Kong-America Center).

Needless to say, speaking at foreign university is always a thrill (trying to find it, checking out campus, interesting perspectives, etc.). As the only lawyer in the room, I was often asked about my interpretation of the Accord text, and we considered whether the Accord attempts to setup an institutional framework and necessary bureaucracy for a future treaty. And I’m still wondering what the U.S. political side of this will look like in 12 months—will Obama, Lisa Jackson and the EPA act to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act by creating a National Ambient Air Quality Standard, or will EPA delay, or will Congress act on climate change legislation? We also discussed the role of individual behavior to reduce one’s individual carbon footprint and put pressure on government to act.

A book about climate change was recommended to me: “Storms of My Grandchildren,” by scientist James Hansen. I’ll have to read it.

In other Hong Kong events, we walked the Promenade along Victoria Harbour, took the Star Ferry, went to Victoria Peak, ate Indian and Malaysian food, and went to the Hong Kong Museum of History. Back to Mainland China tomorrow.

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