Hello from Copenhagen! This is Christine Dorsey, communications director for National Wildlife Federation, and I’m on the ground in Copenhagen at the United Nations climate conference, or as it’s known around the world, COP15 – that’s short for the 15th Conference of Parties (to a global climate treaty).

You’ve probably heard or read about this meeting, where heads of state from all over the world are convening for two weeks to negotiate a new agreement on how to tackle global climate change. As you might imagine, this is a complicated effort. There is a lot to consider – how quickly must we cut global warming pollution? What level of action should the world expect from wealthy, “developed” nations like the U.S.? What about “developing” nations like China and India, that historically have not emitted nearly the same amount of CO2 as industrialized nations, but are expected to soon surpass countries like ours, due to their fast-growing economies?

Global negotiations of any sort are never easy, and these are no different. To help you better understand this process go to www.nwf.org/copenhagen to read more about the issues at stake in the negotiations.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is joining this process late in the game, and there is a fair amount of frustration among other nations that our efforts to reduce our global warming pollution are not nearly aggressive enough. We’ve spent the last eight years on the sidelines, so the Obama administration has its work cut out for it to re-gain the trust of the rest of the world and offer up a plan for doing our fair share. News that President Obama will attend the last day of the negotiation is an excellent sign that the U.S. is serious about finding a path forward to a new global agreement.

I’ll be following the talks from the conservation perspective: National Wildlife Federation is working to improve elements of the agreement that would protect tropical forests – which can house enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, not to mention wildlife. We’re also helping keep the pressure on the U.S. negotiators to come to the table with a plan that aggressively reduces U.S. global warming pollution.

You will no doubt see some distracting headlines along the way. Climate deniers backed by Exxon-Mobil and other Big Oil interests are out in full force using every dirty trick in the book in a desperate attempt to derail climate progress.

But they are far outnumbered by those of us who know the truth: the Earth’s climate is rapidly changing, and the burning of fossil fuels is the culprit. We have an obligation to our families to address this problem, and now is our time to act.

Check back here often to follow the progress. I just got off the plane, so I promise photos and video later! And please post comments and questions for our NWF delegation.

Photo via Flickr’s White Red Flower

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Published: December 10, 2009