The COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen are not going well- for anyone. We are 7 days into the summit, there is a draft agreement on the table but it is no where near enough. A possible “Copenhagen Protocol” talks about cuts for developed nations of between 25 and 45 per cent by 2020, and calls on rich nations to pay their poorer cousins to reduce their emissions. But the draft is a long way from completion, littered with blanks where exact figures and dates have to be filled in.
Inside rich and poor countries have repeatedly clashed over the need to reduce greenhouse gases, with Africa and the small island states threatening to walk out unless the developed nations committed to deeper cuts. Despite being a summit for global co-operation the bad-tempered exchanges between negotiations reflect the tense atmosphere.
Neither are the scientists happy- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC), the UN-sponsored science network, recommends that reductions average in the 25-40-percent range to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels and head off the worst of global warming. “I think it is clearly not enough,” the IPCC’s Thomas Stocker said of the numbers discussed here. “We are by far short of having security that the 2-degree target will be met.”
For the Alliance of Small Island States ( AOSIS) neither is the promise of attempting to keep reductions to two degrees enough. Island nations threatened by rising seas demanded at UN talks Friday that the world commit to preventing global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. AOSIS have also called for an ambitious 85-percent cut in global CO2 emissions by 2050. ,” Dessima Williams from AOSIS said “AOSIS members are at the front line of the devastating impacts of climate change of Grenada”
On Saturday the 12th 70,000 people took to the streets of Copenhagen to demand a just and effective climate deal. The protests were colourful, large and loud with people from all over the world marching side by side. However during the demonstrations police made over 900 “preventative arrests-” people who happened to be on the streets when the police closed in on sections of the demonstration. Reports from people recently released from Valby detention centre document inhumane conditions inside described as “just less than horrific”. The cages have been overcrowded and full for several hours so police have been handcuffing people to benches in the corridor. Some people have spent 5 hours handcuffed to benches without toilets, food or water.
The vibrant alternative to COP15, the Klimaforum continues apace outside with thousands of people, groups and organization packing out it’s halls for presentations and workshop on a huge variety of topics. A proposal from Klimaforum09 – representing 70 organisations from 92 countries – calls for a “system change” to a carbon-free economy by 2040 will be presented to government delegations on Tuesday. It rejects “false solutions” such as nuclear energy and argues for the “safe, clean, renewable and sustainable use of natural resources”. Dr Vandana Shiva who was one of the first to sign the declaration said “this is the declaration, which the Bella Center should be working on”,
Paul Quintos declaration spokes person said “We are pleased that in spite of the many different voices and views we have succeeded in our agreement on this important document. It has been created through an open and democratic dialogue between people and organisations from all over the world”
As we go into the last week of the climate talks and world leaders begin to arrive, hopes are still running high inside and outside COP15 for a just and effective climate deal- but there is a lot of work to be done.