Tag Archives: United Nations Climate Change Conference

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

Advertisements

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

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.

Orange in a Sea of Black

11 Dec

Today in the Bella Center youth are unmistakable. YuFuGe Day, or rather Young and Future Generations Day, has been marked in the Bella Centre by a sea of extremely bright orange shirts worn by youth. The shirts, which read “How old will you be in 2050?” on the front and “[Don’t bracket our future]” on the back are strengthening the point that climate change is not just an issue for adults in spiffy suits.  Youth are taking a stand and being a voice to show their concern for what is going on and to put pressure on decision makers at this conference. Today several activities were set up by youth and for youth on many topics, one being intergenerational equity (http://unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/the-youth-generation-yufuge-day/, this is a copy of what I read today here at the Bella Center). Yet youth are not only being active on YuFuGe Day, but protests involving both youth and adults are seen inside and outside the Bella Center daily. If you have been keeping up with our Facebook page you may have noticed some of our own UWSP delegation members participating in protests as well (nonviolent, of course).

I can’t say I wear the colour orange well, but I  have to admit that the shirts have been very effective. In 2050, I will be 59  years old, and many of the decision makers here at COP15 will no longer be around. The youth of today are as concerned as adults about climate change, and these vibrant orange shirts we are all decked out in only prove the point that these decisions will be affecting our generation.

Tyler and Sylvie with the orange YuFuGe Day shirts.

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.