Politics and Environment: The Warsaw Summit


The Warsaw Summit is the next major meeting of nations to discuss and pass resolutions on climate change. Politics are inextricably tied to summits like this – try to recall the controversial Copenhagen Summit in 2009 and the disappointment following the lack of substantial policy change made there. The most striking for me from this article was this: “Last year’s conference in Qatar ended on a bitter note when the chair gaveled a set of decisions despite Russia’s objections.

Russia’s chief negotiator was so upset that he blocked talks at a negotiating session in Germany in June.” No one will argue that ego shouldn’t be removed from talks like this, but how can it be? Should politicians be removed and scientists take the lead roles? What do you see being the perfect relationship between politics and science?



About Cassidy Wasko

Senior Art & Design major at the University of Michigan. Part-time outdoor goods salesperson, full-time hippie. I love to ski and to draw (not at the same time).

10 Responses to “Politics and Environment: The Warsaw Summit”

  1. Like the debate between scientists and journalists, unfortunately for scientists, they need the politicians in order for their work to be done. They receive funding through the government, and with the government comes politicians, so there is no way to separate the two. Related to the article, I thought it was very well structured, and I saw the elements that we discussed in class on how to write a story. It gave relevant background knowledge, and walked us through the history of these summits and climate change policies from around the world in a concise, clear manner. The kicker, with the quote, provides a “forward looking” idea, even though the tone may be apathetic or ambivalent.

  2. I agree with Katie, and I think unfortunately there is no way to pass meaningful policies regarding climate change without politicians involved. Given the globalized economy, the world’s climate is officially a matter of economic and political contention. Although, ideally, the ego of the nations’ leaders should be set aside as they become involved in negotiating and participating in talks, unfortunately the decorum of the typical scientific discussion is rarely mirrored in a political one. I also thought this article was well written and informative and I’m extremely thankful for a new American news source that can perhaps provide more sides of the story than can Fox, CNN and MSNBC.

  3. Although it may be difficult I think that if the world wants to see major changes to improve the climate then scientists should be the ones to take the lead roles. I think this will cause a lot less drama and blame games that so often occur when politicians start arguing. There will be little for scientists to argue when presenting climate change evidence and by collaborating together I think the world’s leading scientists can make the improvements needed to decrease global warming and clean up the environment.

    The article was well written and it presented the facts in a neutral way that was easy to understand and follow. It was able to incorporate the sides of all major countries involved and I liked how the kicker quote acknowledged the fact that if we really want changes to be made then only countries who are serious about making these changes should contribute to this ongoing discussion.

  4. I thought this was a great article. It started off by drawing attention to the recent typhoon in the Philippines, a fatal reminder that this isn’t just a matter for politicians to squabble over, but a real and destructive problem. It then went into the biggest roadblocks to fossil-fuels prevention: political excuses and accusations. I thought that it was good that the article brought up the tension between China and America, and the blame game that has been going on between these two countries. However, I don’t think it’s worthwhile to split hairs over who is the worst polluter in the world. Both countries need to fulfill their promises and get serious about preventing climate change. It might be more worthwhile to focus on the best climate reducers, and use these as examples to strive for rather than constantly looking back at what hasn’t been done, and then justifying it.

    I think that the last quote summed up the entire issue of politics and climate change perfectly.

  5. I don’t know if it’s realistic to think that finding a perfect relationship between politics and science is possible the grand scheme of the climate change issue, unfortunately, but I do think that perfect relationship can be found in journalism. This article does a decent job of it, I think. The article covers the scientific aspects of climate change through the lens of the political world. For example, after talking about potential sea level rises and the carbon emissions coming from oil, coal, and gas, the article says the following: “‘Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak this decade, and get to zero net emissions by the second half of this century,’ U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said last week. The article notes the U.N. climate chief as its climate source. So here we see the article talking about the science. It then goes on to incorporate the politics. For example, it references that “blame game” between China and America, as Katie Beth said. The bottom line? Journalism has to incorporate the scientific reality in the context of the political network without letting the political game cast its misleading shadow on the science. I think the more articles expose these sort of “blame games” being played within politics, the more journalists expose the “climate change deniers” the better. The sooner petty political games are exposed as silly in the overall climate context, the sooner we’ll be able to move forward.

  6. Issues of science often fall on one side or the other on the political spectrum, which unfortunately makes it really difficult for a perfect relationship to exist between scientists and politicians. I agree with Lindsey in that journalists have an interesting power in this case. There is potential for an additional opinion to be voiced through journalism, adding to the already complicated relationship between science and politics. This article does a good job of avoiding that.

  7. In order for climate change to be accurately addressed, policies must be changed. Both scientists and politicians are non-negotiable main stage players to this process. But scientists and politicians often have blinders up to the outside world, which is ultimately the stage for their work. This makes meeting halfway a hard relationship to maintain. I took a class called “The Social Sciences of Environmental Science”, in which we talked about the potential role for professionals in the social sciences to act as liaisons between scientists and politicians. People who are not specialists, but are well versed in both the scientific and political sphere. These people could help find common ground, explain topics to the public, and turn scientific findings into policies.

  8. I think having formal “rules of procedure” during climate talks, like mentioned at the end of the article, can reduce issues of ego. Like several of the above commenters, I believe that policy must play a vital role in thwarting climate change. Politicians should work with scientists to implement domestic and international policies that will help prevent the catalysts of further climate change. For me, I wish that science and environmental issues were bipartisan. But they are not because some parties believe that environmental regulations can negatively influence the economy, something that yields a great deal of public concern. As the article suggests, climate change deniers and, in the international sphere, those who view certain developed states as those that impact the climate most significantly limit the mutual cooperation necessary to initiate meaningful reform and de facto environmental policy change. Ideally, I would like politicians and scientists to work in unison toward the common goal of lessening climate change.

  9. I thought the article had a lot of good content and the structure was very easy. The plethora of quotes from high profile individuals gave a lot of weight to what was being said. Every major point that was covered had a quote immediately following it to emphasize what was said. I didn’t like the titles given to the bold parts that broke up the sections. In both cases I was set up to expect something more than actually existed. Under “blame game” it mentions how China blames the West, but the rest of the section goes back to talking about the summit and differences between poor and rich countries. I was expecting some other countries pointing fingers at others aside from the one example. Under “Climate Change Deniers” the focus changes to Russia being upset about decisions made, but it never says what those decisions are and what side Russia is on. The ending left me very confused especially with the quote from Trio. Was that quote aimed at Russia or just a blanket statement in general?

  10. I think it is funny that there seems to be such a push to try to segregate politics from science. People speak about each of them as if they are mutually exclusive. In reality, there are politics in every field and behind every person. Every scientist has their own, or their source of funding, agenda to live by. I hardly think that it is even worth considering having this segregation of science from politics because really, it is all the same.

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