LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The trip local environmentalist Jerome Ringo is taking to Copenhagen is not his first go-around on the international stage.
In fact, Ringo was part of the U.S. delegation to Kyoto, Japan in 1997 that helped negotiate the Kyoto Treaty, which the U.S. Senate later failed to ratify. Following Kyoto, Ringo also attended several other global climate change summits in Kyoto, Montreal, Canada and Nairobi, Africa.
Ringo says the U.N. Climate Change summit he's attending this weekend will be a success if the U.S. is able to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 17-20% below 2005 levels by the year 2020.
Of course, that is not a large enough reduction for others.
On Friday, the chair of the conference released a draft text, which calls for rich countries like the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas 25-45% below 1990 levels. The U.S.'s current proposal would only reduce greenhouse gases to four percent below 1990s levels.
But it's all about negotiation and Ringo says the "hardcore negotiations" will begin on Monday.
For much of the conference, a scandal that has come to be known as Climategate, in which leaked emails appear to reveal some top scientists doubts about the existence of global warming, has hovered over like a dark cloud. But Ringo says Climategate and anyone who believes it disproves global warming exists is foolish.
"The debate is over on global warming," Ringo said. "You are always going to have a few who will never accept it regardless to the science."
Ringo says the U.S. must take the lead with preparing with climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. Ringo believes other country like China would follow the U.S.'s lead.
Ringo says Germany is a model country for the U.S. to follow when it comes to dealing with climate change.
"I made seven trips to Germany in the last several years to look at their wind turbine systems, to look at their solar systems," Ringo said.
He acknowledges that not everything Germany is doing has been a success, particularly with cap and trade.
But Ringo says dealing with global climate change will require more research and development.
"It's a process and it's a process that must take place," Ringo said.