Unfortunately, I miss the highlight of the first day, when Leah Wickham, a young woman from Fiji, spoke on behalf of more than 10 million people who signed the tcktcktck petition calling for an immediate legally binding agreement, and Abigail Jabines, International Solar Generation Coordinator, presented Yvo De Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, and Connie Hedegaard, new President of COP15, with Denmark’s famous lego. The one that represents a building block for a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement. Wickham concluded her speech, which was echoed by many in Copenhagen, by saying, “the time for talking is over, and now it’s time for action.”
Reading one line in the COP15 Post – CPHPOST.DK’s daily climate conference news – Mr. de Boer’s retort to Leah Wickham’s speech was amusing, as he jokedly concluded, “…but I hope you will be a bit patient and give us two more weeks of talking and then we will deliver on the action…”
I learn that there is a lot that needs to be discussed and decided in two weeks. Starting with the proposed GHG reduction targets for the second commitment period and beyond, the new agreement will be expanded to include GHG emissions from the international maritime and aviation industries. Whether the untested and expensive Carbon Capture and Storage technology will be included in Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). Whether the agreement will include measures to slow the rate of deforestation, particularly in developing countries’ tropical rainforests – known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), and many others. But, in the end, we need leaders who act, not politicians who talk.
On my way back from Bella Center, I encounter a group of young people handing out leaflets and inviting commuters to Klima Forum 09 – the civil society counterpart to the COP15 that represents ordinary concerned citizens from all over the world. I decide to go check it out because the venue, DGI-Byen Copenhagen, is only a short walk from the central station.
Aside from the exhibits, workshops, talks, theatre, and music, I am most taken with a photo of a boat listing every single Climate Conference of Parties since 1992.
Earth Summit Rio de Janero, Brazil, 1992 CoP 1, Berlin, Germany, 1995 CoP 2 Geneva, Switzerland, 1996 Cop 3 Kyoto, Japan, 1997 CoP 4 Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998 Cop 5 Bonn, Germany, 1999 CoP 6 The Hague, 2000 CoP 6+ Bonn, Germany, 2001 CoP 7 Marrakech, Morroco, 2001 CoP 8 New Delhi, India, 2002 CoP 9 Milan, Italy, 2003 CoP 10 Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004 CoP 11 Montreal, Canada, 2005 CoP 12 Nirobi, Kenya, 2006 CoP 13 Bali, Indonesia, 2007 CoP 14, Poznan, Poland, 2008 CoP 15, Copenhagen, Denmark 2009.
Mr. Boer is given two weeks and no more… Enough is enough; the time for climate action is clearly now.