Tag Archives: copenhagen

COP 15, Dr. Suess Style

23 Dec

A very interesting reflection on what happened in Copenhagen. Check it out! You will laugh and cry…

Dr. Seuss\’s Copenhagen by Marcus Brigstocke

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.


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.

Fossil Awards Hold No Meaning to Politicians

12 Dec

Moments ago Alice, Sylvie, Sarah and I came out of a meeting with Michael Martin. These meetings are held every morning at 8 so the government can learn the issues weighing on the minds of Canadians, especially those attending COP15. This morning I mustered the courage to ask one of my own questions. I asked Mr. Martin how he felt about Canada’s continual winnings this week in the Fossil Awards. Canada has won every day but Thursday. Outlined below is our scoreboard for this week:

  • Monday: First place (since we are apart of Annex 1) and third place
  • Tuesday: Second place (we are apart of the Umbrella Group)
  • Wednesday: First place
  • Thursday: We escaped the podium!
  • Friday: Canada wins first AND second place (had to make up for lost time on Thursday somehow…)

For those reading this who don’t know what the Fossil of the Day Award is, it’s three awards given to countries or  group of countries who have performed poorly and have obstructed progress in negotiations.

So this morning when I asked our chief negotioator how he felt about Canada’s continual (and by now expected) winnings, as well as the comments made by the mayor of Toronto, Mr. David Miller, who accepted the Fossil Award yesterday for Canada, Mr. Martin replied saying that he had not yet read David Miller’s comments and that these awards are satirical awards which can be voted on by anyone and though he respects the freedom of speech the process has, he does not agree with the awards.

Well that’s all nice and dandy, but I was kind of looking for something more along the lines of ‘this is embarassing and we are going to do more to avoid the podium’. Of course I’m a fool for hoping such a thing, since I no longer have any faith in Canada holding its own at this conference, or really do anything in general. I don’t think Mr. Martin really understands just how embarassed Canadians, especially the youth here at COP15 are to say they are Canadian. Yesterday morning for example as we walked out of the the morning meeting, Canadian youth were shaking their heads in disappointed and slumping into chairs, burying their heads into their hands.

If Canada doesn’t speak up at this conference soon, our country will continue to be an embarassment and disappointment on an international level. Tonight at 6pm when the Fossil of the Day Award is handed out, myself and everyone else here from UW will be surprised if Canada is not on the podium.

If you are interested in the Fossil of the Day Award, you are in luck! Check out the website at http://www.fossiloftheday.com/. The website has written material and video of the awards, so if you need a break fom studying I suggest you check it out.

Canada Makes Headlines in ECO, a NGO Newsletter

11 Dec

This is taken directly from ECO, an NGO newsletter made available at the COP conference:

Canada’s government must be working overtime chatting up reporters here in Copenhagen. The news they’re so eager to spread is that, according to Yvo de Boer, Canada has been “negotiating very constructively” this week.

The Canadian delegation is obviously as surprised as we are that anyone has good things to say about Canada, the home of one of the weakest mid-term emission targets in the industrialized world.

It cannot be Canada’s record on Kyoto compliance that impressed the UNFCCC’s chief official. (In case anyone has forgotten: Canada’s emissions are now a solid 34% above that pesky Kyoto target.) The lack of financing pledge probably hasn’t won Canada any new friends either.

We also doubt de Boer was impressed by Canada’s decision to show up in Copenhagen without a serious plan for domestic emissions reductions. (Note to Canada: “waiting for the US” is not actually a plan. Nor is “massively expanding the tar sands.”)

But maybe the Executive Secretary was just anticipating even worse behaviour with the arrival of Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice this weekend. That would be the environment minister who recently vowed not to “be a Boy Scout” at the negotiating table, and swore not to “panic” when faced with the “hype and drama” of Copenhagen. In other words, the world better get used to Canada being the laggard.

This is the same Minister who dismissed a reduction target of 25% below 1990 levels for 2020 in Canada as “divisive” and “irresponsible” – even though a study has shown that Canada could meet this target while growing its economy by over 20% and creating nearly two million net new jobs.

If this is what constructive looks like, we’d hate to see destructive.