It’s difficult to know where to start, its definitely more confusing than when COP15 started- so we will do it geographically and go from inside the Bella of the beast to the streets outside. The 16th of December saw chaos inside COP15, the day was checkered with sit-down protests and delegate walkouts as the probable outcomes of the climate talks became apparent. The three main blocks that form the climate talks – rich countries, major developing economies, and small island states – said they had given up on getting a substantive deal.
Yesterday civil society groups were excluded from participating in the Bella centre, particularly Friends of the Earth (FOE) who were physically removed from the building- whilst press were barred from talking to them. Outside at the NGO briefing this morning held at the Klima forum ( the parallel civil society event) NGO heads said, “ It is a strategy to silence dissenting voices within the Bella Centre.” FOE US say that with two days left of COP15 the developed countries are trying to pin the fault of the failure of the negotiations onto developing countries- particularly China and India. Meanwhile the US, UK and EU are attempting to buy off the developing countries. A clear example of this has been France and the UK lobbying Ethiopia very hard to support the proposed EU package by committing 100 million euros to the Ethiopian economy. Sounds good in principal, but the UN reckons that 500-600 million dollars is needed to deal with the effect of climate change in Ethiopia. The Africa group and development NGO’s are furious with the under hand tactic being played by the US, UK and EU by putting pressure on leaders of developing countries. Last night the Ethiopian prime minister supported the EU package.
Up till now there has been a two-track negotiation process– the Kyoto track and the Long term Cooperation Action (LCA) track. Developing countries want to hang onto the Kyoto protocol to ensure that developed countries are legally bound to reduce emissions. Developed countries, led by the US are looking to collapse the two track system and replace it with the LCA- which means emissions reductions will be essentially voluntary. The Danish hosts are working on a compromise between the US and EU, excluding developing countries from the process. At the Klima forum briefing a spokesperson declared that
“ It’s not a summit, it’s not a convention about climate change- do not believe that the people inside are negotiating for a climate solution – it’s a finance and energy summit”
The Bolivian delegation headed by Evo Morales are equally disillusioned by the process, Cristian Dominguez from the delegation had this to say:
“We were hopeful and had faith that the conference would lead to some thing positive, but this process has not been positive, it has no feelings. But we have faith, no body is going to sign anything that goes against the rights of mother earth and against humanity. Africa has been doing an amazing work defending their rights, mother earth and humanity. There has been a huge sacrifice from the people protesting in the name of the climate and democracy – yesterday massacred on the streets and arrested. The next climate talks will be In Mexico and it is there we will fight because it is our lands. We will prepare our selves well. We have lost in Copenhagen with the governments in the Bella conference centre. “
Outside snow has fallen in Copenhagen and the streets are white with fresh snow. Yesterday people again took to the streets to hold a Peoples Assembly where voices of those who are not being heard inside the Bella Conference centre could be heard. They met with resistance from the police who beat back protestors using pepper spray and batons. Delegates who were attempting to leave the conference centre to support those outside were also beaten with batons. Four media spokespeople for the Climate Justice Action Network have been arrested and are being held on remand.
For many they came to Copenhagen full of hope, but with less than 48 hours to go for world leaders to make a deal, that hope is rapidly failing. The Alliance of Small Island states said this morning “ no deal is better than a bad deal.” However amongst the chaos and collapse in the Klimaforum and the spaces outside the Bella conference centre, the green shoots of success are apparent, there is no deal on climate change because there can’t be- what’s on the table at the moment would be environmental suicide for many developing countries. We have heard over the last 10 days from hundreds of groups proposing solutions for a fair, just and effective climate deal – those groups have been building links, networking and forging new ways of working. It is in these that citizens of the world will have to place their faith.