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Reclaim Power! Part 2

17 Dec

As predicted, the planned mass action of non-violent civil disobedience was violent. See the Guardians live blog on the happenings of yesterdays climate change protest.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/dec/16/copenhagen-climate-change-protests-live

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Cop15 Updates from the Outside

15 Dec

COP15 has brought over 60 000 people to Copenhagen. Due to the lack of space from such an influx of people, the conference centre has shut it`s doors to 70% of NGO attendees. Tomorrow and each day following, fewer and fewer NGOs will be allowed in. By Friday, rumour has it that only 90 NGO attendees will be in the conference centre. Despite being on the outside, we have compiled a number of updates from today`s negotations:

As some countries have reservations on carbon capture and storage (CCS) the emerging technology will not be added to the UN-backed carbon reducing mechanisms here in Copenhagen. http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=3011   

As time runs out, the big issues still being discussed by delegates are emission reduction targets of developed countries, developing country actions and long term financing.

Leaked draft documents from Canada, found by CBC, included statements such as:

projected growth in greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands in northern Alberta will be 165 per cent by 2020 and proposes to cut that growth — not emissions — by 10 per cent. http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2009/12/15/prentice-oil-sands.html

Minister Jim Prentice, second in rank after Stephen Harper in these negotiations, is making himself as scarce as possible in the conference center. Despite efforts, communication by an NGO has not been made.

Reclaim Power!

15 Dec

Tomorrow morning Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now are planning to reclaim power at the Bella Center. The plan is to have a mass of people walk from Taarnby Station to the Bella Center starting at 8am. At 10am, groups from within the center will start disrupting negotiations encouraging others to join the mass action. At the same time, the masses on the outside will attempt to penetrate the Bella Center. How you wonder…

We will overcome any physical barriers that stand in our way- but we will not respond with violence if the police try to escalate the situation, nor create unsafe situations; we will be there to make our voices heard.

Non-violence. This is their claim. Reclaim Power! is a confrontational mass action of non-violent civil disobedience. But how will masses of people be able to get passed a line of police officers blocking all entrance to the Bella Center without becoming violent. The answer: they won`t. If the Bella Center is to be penetrated, violence will be required. This is the first flaw of this planned protest. There will be members of the crowd prepared to be violent. There will be uneducated members of the crowd that will follow those who act violently. All control will disintegrate and violence will ensue. If somehow the Bella Centre is penetrated, the Peoples Assembly is planned to begin at 12 at the main entrance to the Bella Centre inside the UN area.

The Peoples Assembly, in opposition to the false solutions being negotiated at the Climate Summits, will highlight alternatives that provide real and just solutions: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources; relocalizing food production; massively reducing overconsumption, particularly in the North; recognising the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations; and respecting  indigenous and forest peoples’ rights.

While these are good intentions, the approach is flawed. This is flaw number two. The type of attention associated with mass actions of civil disobedience and violence is not the type of attention that will further any environmental causes. It will only hinder the cause. What will help the cause is working together to identify agreed upon solutions; not forcing decision makers to listen to the people.

Our goal is to disrupt the sessions…. The people`s Assembly will oppose the COP15 meeting….

This is not working together and is therefore the third flaw. Despite its flaws, the protest will go on. It will raise awareness, good and bad. It will generate talk, good and bad. Extremists will clap. Climate deniers will critize. In any case, the police will be prepared. In fact,  the police are being proactive. It`s spread along the grapevine that one of the organizers of this mass action has already been arrested. We`ll see what happens tomorrow.

Canada Breaks its Silence

12 Dec

For the first time in the major COP and CMP plenary sessions of the conference, Canada spoke up. It happened in this morning’s COP plenary regarding the progress of the AWG-LCA draft text available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php. Michael Martin, chief negotiator for Canada, complimented the text on the following components:

  • progress on technology and forests
  • recognition of the importance of fast start financing (jump start as Martin likes to say)
  • scaled up mitigation efforts

Ambassador Martin mainly criticized the mitigation component of the draft text as being deficient. After the COP plenary, Sylvie and Sarah approached the Canadian representatives to question them on this speech. We asked about the deficient mitigation efforts and if that meant Canada had plans to step up their pitiful target. The answer was that Kyoto only represents 1/3 of global emitters so the deffiency was referring to those other 2/3 of emitters. We then asked if this comment was directed at the United States no response was given but the facial reactions implied “YES”. Secondly we asked about the importance of fast start financing and if Canada was therefore ready to commit money to combat climate change. The answer was not direct but basically implied that it is a known fact that commitments of funding will have to be made. Again, body reactions implied that a commitment may be made in the next few days. It should be noted that throughout Canada’s speech, there was heavy emphasis on Developed and Developping Countries both have to do their share.

The second time Canada spoke today was at the CMP plenary session. The agenda item at hand was  regarding amendments for further commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php. Canada essentially dismissed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol and instead requested a new agreement that would include all parties who are not currently included in the Kyoto Protocol. Speculation indicates that Canada is pushing for a new agreement (and to kill the Kyoto Protocol) in order to avoid penalties of not meeting their Kyoto target.

Tension, Frustrations and Anxiety in the Plenary

10 Dec

Frustrations filled this morning’s CMP plenary as parties could not reach a consensus. The agenda item of discussion was amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. Numerous amendments were proposed by the following countries: Tuvalu, Australia, Columbia, Papa New Guinea, Japan, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Belize, New Zealand, Philippines, and Non-Annex Countries. The tabled amendments included extending the commitment period beyond 2012, requiring developed countries to commit to 40% emission reduction targets of 1990 levels by 2020, giving legal authority to the compliance board, and setting up funding for adaptation and mitigation. With these amendments on the table, Tuvalu proposed the setting up of a contact group to discuss issues regarding these amendments. Much support was voiced for this option. However, much support was also voiced for the option presented by China to allow the  ad hoc working group of the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) to work on developing amendments agreed on by all parties. Without consensus the President made the decision to suspend this agenda item until Saturday. Tuvalu immediately rejected this decision indicating that consensus must be reached sooner than Saturday if COP15 is to be successful, therefore the meeting should continue until a decision regarding the proposed amendments has been made. Again many countries supported Tuvalu. China yet again proposed another option: to scope down issues in the CMP and therefore moving amendment related discussions to be dealt with by the AWG-KP. After a ten minute break in which the President talked with party members, a final decision was to suspend the agenda item until Saturday.

Our feelings were that we cannot wait on this until Saturday. Nothing has been done to date and nothing will be done until next week if a decision on amendments cannot be made soon. Unless a miracle happens next week, the outlook of this conference is grim.

Following the CMP meeting, Tyler and Sylvie spoke with representatives from Tuvalu who supported our feelings. They felt that the President was intentionally stalling to make a decision. Speculation indicates that since the President is Danish, she may be influenced by the release of the “Danish Text” indicating that Denmark is only interested signing their agreement.

In the CMP and COP meetings, Canada and the US have yet to turn on their microphones. If you want to know Canada’s opinion on these matters, as we do, contact Jim Prentice at Minister@ec.gc.ca and urge him to give Canada a voice. We’ll do what we can here in Copenhagen.

Is China doing enough?

8 Dec

As I’m sure all of you are well aware, China is a major greenhouse gas emitter. China and the US combined account for 40% of all world emissions related to energy. Acknowledging this, the Chinese Government have done a number of things. They’ve set a carbon intensity target of 40-45% by 2020. With this target, China is leading all developing countries in terms of having the highest carbon intensity target. China has also committed to introducing low carbon transportation options including a commitment to produce  10 million tonnes of non grain bioethanol by 2020. Accounting for 50% of all world buildings, China has embraced the opportunity to build and renovate buildings to be more energy efficient and sustainable. In addition, China has been researching carbon capture and sequestration and renewable energy technologies. Despite this great effort, it comes down to the fact that China’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising and this will impact climate change. China argues that they are developing more efficiently than other countries have. More specifically, from 2002-2005, China’s GDP has risen 6 times while energy use has risen 2 times. My question to you is…

As China industrialises, is it good enough to not be as bad as developed countries were when they industrialised?

Emission Reduction Targets put forward by Annex 1 Countries

8 Dec

Based on updates from today’s Adhoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) meeting, Annex 1 countries have put forward the following emission reduction objectives:

Party % Reduction by 2020 Baseline Year
Australia 5-15 2000
Belarus 5-10 1990
Canada 20 2006
Croatia 6% INCREASE! 1990
European Community 20-30 1990
Iceland 15 1990
Japan 25 1900
Kazakhstan 15 1992
Lietchtenstein 20-30 1990
Monaco 20 1990
New Zealand 10-20 1990
Norway 30-40 1990
Russian Federation 20-25 1990
Switzerland 20-30 1990
Ukraine 20 1990

Note: Croatia’s target is not a reduction!

Also note: Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan are the only countries that do not use 1990 as a baseline. One of the outcomes of COP15 is to determine is a baseline of 1990 should be legally mandatory.