Journalists are calling it the most important environmental summit to date. In Copenhagen, Denmark, thousands of dignitaries and officials, green crusaders, and the business-minded gathered for the U.N.'s climate change conference, which began Monday, Dec. 7.
When Mark Giorgetti was an undergrad in the early '90s, climate change was a fringe topic, he says, even among environmentalists. Giorgetti co-owns Amenergy, a New Mexico clean energy company, which installs solar tech on houses and businesses for electricity and heat. Sitting on a doorstep in London, he answered our questions days before leaving for Copenhagen.
The Santa Fe resident is attending the summit as a delegate—of the Scottish government. Giorgetti just completed a master's degree program on climate change and carbon management at the University of Edinburgh. "In this field, we haven't even scratched the the surface yet of the types of changes and the growth and the development that needs to happen," he says.
“In this field, we haven't even scratched the the surface yet ... “
Earlier this year, Scotland passed a climate change act, one that's "the most progressive and most appropriate of any nation in the world," Giorgetti says. In contrast, the United States is struggling with policy in an atmosphere rich with opposition and resistance. "I will speak as an American voice, reflecting on Scotland's achievement and the process we're going through in the U.S."
He's glad to represent New Mexico at the conference, he adds, because the state has a lot to gain. Until there's a long-term commitment to reducing emissions worldwide, "there's not much hope that New Mexico is going to be able to achieve its stated goal of becoming a global leader in solar and renewable energy," he says. "We need that level of investment, and that level of investment only comes when there is stability and a long-term vision with a clear understanding about what the terms are for developing these technologies."