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COP15 Free-Fall

COP15, Copenhagen - The Whole World is WatchingThis morning two NGO’s, Friends of the Earth and Avaaz, had their access to the Bella Center completely shut off, sparing a protests and a sit-in at the entrance.

Hundreds of demonstrators from outside marched toward the Bella calling for the UN conference to be a “people’s assembly” and demanding “climate justice” through an aggressive and equatable deal to be signed in the next forty-eight hours.  As crowds approached the cordon around the venue, police released pepper spray into the crowd, and some police were filmed hitting protesters with nightsticks.

A colleague waiting in the (peaceful) NGO line reported to me that police reaction was “swift” when she saw at least four activists try to run past the cordon, only to be quickly subdued. One large policeman was kneeling on a small Asian woman as she shouted “Don’t sell our planet!” With the surge of police and dogs, my colleague told me she abandoned her own effort to access the Bella Center and left.

Civil society organizations are complaining they are being shut out of the process as the UN designates an “alternate venue” for NGO observer organizations for the two remaining days of the conference.

As Wednesday passes into Thursday in Copenhagen, high-level ministers and heads of state begin to stream into the Bella Center to attempt to wrest progress from the chaotic state in the talks that some UN officials say are in a “terrible” state.

Sinking on a climate shipThat disheartened feeling was expressed by the eloquent Ian Fry of Tuvalu, who said in a plenary session:

“We are extremely disappointed,” Ian Fry of the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu declared on the conference floor. “I have the feeling of dread we are on the Titanic and sinking fast. It’s time to launch the lifeboats.”
Others were far from abandoning ship. “Obviously there are things we are concerned about, but that is what we have to discuss,” Sergio Barbosa Serra, Brazil’s climate ambassador, told The Associated Press. “I would like to think we can get a deal, a good and fair deal.”

We are extremely disappointed. I have the feeling of dread we are on the Titanic and sinking fast. It’s time to launch the lifeboats.”

Others tried to remain resolutely optimistic. “Obviously there are things we are concerned about, but that is what we have to discuss,” Sergio Barbosa Serra, Brazil’s climate ambassador, told the Associated Press. “I would like to think we can get a deal, a good and fair deal.”

The level of mistrust, frustration, and suspicion between developing and developed nations grows as time runs out, with developing nations denouncing they feel a deal is being “pushed” on them by the developed nations. One Chinese official said on Tuesday that developed countries have put forward a “plethora” of demands on developing countries.Yvo holds a climate life bouy

As the level of desperation grows, pressure intensifies for head of state to make something of the mess as they take up the process on Thursday and Friday.

In one potential bright note, significant progress has apparently been made with the announcement that a final draft agreement has been struck for the  REDD program (Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation) that facilitates the payment to indigenous people living in rainforest from rich nations to leave forests intact.

Sources and further reading:
Daily Maverick
COP15

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