Though the incoming 112th Congress will have a greater Republican presence, the Obama administration has announced that it will continue to try to push through unpopular and controversial environmental policies. Republicans, however, have vowed to put up a fight.
Archaeologists in Israel have discovered what they say are human teeth up to 400,000 years old. A spokesman for Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology said the find could represent the oldest evidence of the human species yet uncovered and could challenge the established scientific assumption that humans originated in Africa.
What a difference a year can make! In December 2009, thousands of politicians, diplomats, and bureaucrats swarmed into Copenhagen for the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), accompanied by hordes of journalists, celebrities, and paparazzi. According to a UNFCCC press release at the close of the conference, “119 world leaders attended the meeting, the largest gathering of heads of state and government in the history of the UN.” President Barack Obama was there. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was there, along with a sizeable congressional delegation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was there. Britain’s Prince Charles was there. Billionaire activist gadfly George Soros was there. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Friedman, Darryl Hannah, and Bianca Jagger were there. And, of course, Al “Mr. Global Warming” Gore was there.
Thousands of climate dignitaries representing almost every national government on Earth flew to Cancun, Mexico, for the great event. Security precautions were extensive: Battleships could be seen from the beach while thousands of soldiers and police lined the jam-packed roads. It was time for the 16th “Conference of the Parties,” or COP16 for short. The annual summit, which was held this year from November 29 through December 10, is an extravaganza of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. The previous year’s COP15 in Copenhagen was massive — over 50,000 attendees in all, not counting protesters. It was well publicized, too. But after the spectacular failure of COP15 to deliver a binding climate treaty, and with little hope of securing one this time, expectations for COP16 were purposefully set low.