The jarring disconnect between government action on climate change and grassroots support for meaningful action has spread rapidly from the United States to Asia. The past month has seen a wave of ministers and spokespeople hastening to emphasize that their country will not commit to any binding resolutions at Copenhagen. Most recently, the 19 leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation stated that Copenhagen was too soon to reach any agreement on emissions.
Biodiversity hotspots, according to Conservation International, are, “the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.” These islands of natural abundance cover less than 3% of the Earth’s surface yet host a stunning array of plant and animal life. Imperiled by the twin threats of habitat loss and climate change, hotspots may be ground zero for the jump in extinctions that is widely believed to be looming. Amid the busy schedule of upcoming summits such as COP-15, the best hope for prioritizing the preservation of biodiversity may hinge upon adoption of a more pragmatic approach to negotiation. Stressing the favorable impact of forested land on reducing temperatures and providing food and economic security to the broader community, may prove a more persuasive argument than preservation for the sake of exotic plant and animal life.