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Copenhagen report IX Copenhagen report IX
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-17 07:41:27
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Angry protests

Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested Wednesday afternoon at the Copenhagen climate conference, while protesting against "exclusionary tactics” which kept most of the NGO members outside the conference centre. The organizers behind the "Reclaim Power" march said negotiators at the COP15 meeting are failing the people they are supposed to represent. Around 100 protesters, mostly from NGOs, started the march in the heart of Bella Centre. They were joined by hundreds of other people who claimed to have "conscious hearts".

The protesters shouted "Reclaim power!", "Join the people’s assembly" and "Respect indigenous people's rights" while several Native American Indians drummed and chanted songs. The environment minister of Indonesia met the group on his way to the conference centre and personally got off the car and paid tribute to the protesters. "Very good! Well done," he said, giving them a thumbs-up. Danish TV2 news estimated the demonstrators numbered more than 2,500. The protesting group that came from inside Bella Centre was supposed to converge with a much bigger group of protesters that marched toward the conference centre from Taarnby, a suburb of Copenhagen a few kilometres away.

But when the two groups tried to break the police cordon to meet each other, police used tear gas and batons to stop them.  "We will get past the police cordon so that we can hold a popular assembly and discuss with delegates from the summit ... to get a climate solution," said Climate Justice Action spokesman Peter Nielsen. "The police have tried to get in our way all week now," he said. "This is a question of resolving a global problem, and we will not hold people back." Femke de Vries, member of Climate Justice Action, told China Daily that the protest was not intended to be violent, but was aiming to gain access to the venue to "pressure to the negotiators to take immediate action."

More than 45,000 people have requested access to the Bella Centre, which has a capacity of 15,000. According to the local newspaper, about 22,000 have collected their accreditation passes. Access is due to become even more restricted when state leaders begin arriving. UNFCCC Media Coordinator Alex Wuestenhagen said no more than 1000 NGO representatives would get access to the Bella Centre on Thursday, while only 90 would get in on Friday. Police stepped up security of the Bella Centre on Wednesday, as 119 world leaders started to land in Copenhagen to participate in the final talks. Helicopters hovered in the sky very early on Wednesday and thousands of policemen were stationed at the conference centre. Indonesian police who worked at the Bali climate conference two years ago came to Copenhagen to help the Danish police.


Tired of the rhetoric

as a few key issues continue to stall negotiations, the Danish prime minister took control of the climate conference on Dec. 16. as the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) moves into the final days of talks. The president of the UN Climate Conference, Connie Hedegaard, has resigned, allowing the Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen to take direct control of the UN climate talks in Copenhagen to ramp up efforts to secure a new deal, reports The Independent. At the same time, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Dec. 16 that all countries should set tougher goals to fight global warming and rich nations should set how much aid they will give to poorer nations by 2020, reports Forbes.com (via Reuters).

Ban said the exact amount was up to member states but developing nations insist on a number such as $100 billion a year suggested by African nations by 2020, reports Forbes.com. Males Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, on behalf of the African Group, announced on Dec. 16 that funding for adaptation and mitigation of climate change should reach $100 billion a year by 2020, reports Xinhua News Agency. Zenawi also said in the article that funding should start by 2013 and reach $50 billion a year by 2015, with the funds allocated for the most vulnerable and poor nations, such as Africa and small island states. Ban also said the Kyoto Protocol might be replaced by a new pact despite opposition by developing countries and that the world should set a goal to halve worldwide GHG emissions by 2050, reports Forbes.com.

However, this may difficult as the Group of 77 and China warned against any attempts to dismantle the Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding emissions reductions for industrialized countries, reports Xinhua News Agency. The group also wants to keep the two-track negotiation mechanism established in the Bali Action Plan, which states developed countries should set emissions reduction targets for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol after the first period expires in 2012, and discuss how to help developing countries with their mitigation and adaptation efforts under the UNFCCC, according to the article. Other key sticking points include both India and China’s refusal to set limits on their emissions, saying it hurts their economic growth, and their demand for at least $200 billion a year to help developing countries grow while curbing their emissions, reports BusinessWeek.

Businesses also continue to put pressure on climate negotiators to establish a strong climate deal. More than 1,000 companies, representing more than $11 trillion in market capitalization and $2.6 trillion in annual sales, released a position paper, “Business — The Real Deal”, prepared by WWF that spells out their demands. They say a strong climate deal should allow businesses to make long-term investments in low carbon technologies, provide incentives to invest heavily in low carbon R&D and protects economies from dramatic impacts of climate change, reports WWF.

Although Prime Minister Gordon Brown has admitted that a new deal may not be decided on in Copenhagen, he said a deal could create up to 500,000 jobs alone in the UK’s “low carbon” industries, while helping the developing world fight climate change, reports BBC. City leaders are also calling for strong emissions reductions. Mayors from New York, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Copenhagen along with other city leaders signed a resolution for “an ambitious and empowering deal” on carbon-dioxide emissions cuts at a meeting running concurrently with the climate talks, reports Bloomberg News. One deal that negotiators may be able to finalize focuses on the role that forests play in curbing emissions. The New York Times is reporting that negotiators have nearly completed a deal that would compensate countries for preserving forests and other natural landscapes such as peat soils and swamps.

A final draft of the compensation program agreement, called Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), is expected to be delivered on Dec. 16 to ministers of the nearly 200 countries, reports the New York Times. While some negotiators said some details need to be worked out, all the major issues have been resolved, according to the article.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-17 17:27:39
What is presently going on in Copenhagen was quite predictable since the rich nations of the world have demonstrated little willingness to rethink the premises of their economic structures and envision a more equitable world dedicated to the common good and a modicum of distributive justice. In a couple of days we will know if we ought to continue paying attention. In the meanwhile the reader may wish to pick up the intriguing article by William Grassie in the December Global Spiral titled: “A Thought Experiment: Envisioning a Civilization Recovery Plan.” Here below is the link to it:


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