Snowfall has been ongoing since Wednesday night, resulting in the Copenhagen landscape being covered in white. I am currently on board bus no. 250S to Gladsaxe Stadium, located just outside Copenhagen’s city centre, accompanied by Khun Amarit (Mum), a news reporter from Thailand’s Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS). Khun Amarit arrived in Copenhagen last Saturday to document and report on the situation back home.
Kilma Forum and Øksnehallen, the new meeting place for civil society and NGOs, are filled with people on Thursday night. Due to the cold weather, I decide to leave early with Khun Amarit and head back to the stadium.
Most of the heads of state have arrived in the evening, and the Queen’s Gala Dinner at Christainsborg Slot is about to begin.
While watching a news report on COP15 from a Danish TV channel in the kitchen area of Gladsaxe Stadium’s dormitory, I am thrilled to see that a Greenpeace convoy, led by a fictitious head of state, managed to make it to the red carpet at the queen’s gala dinner. The banners they carried proclaimed, “Politicians talk, Leaders Act.” This report kept playing repeatedly on the TV channel.
During the Gala Dinner, the Queen of Denmark gives a live televised keynote address, expressing her hope that positive and convincing results will be achieved as an outcome of the COP15 conference. She wishes the attendees the very best of luck.
As the Heads of State walk the red carpet, a debate is taking place on a TV channel. The moderator is asking questions to debaters including Kavin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, Ms. Buyelwa Sonjica, the South African Environment Minister, Mohamed Nasheed, the President of the Maldives, Felipe de Jes Calderón Hinojosa, the President of Mexico, and an EU representative. Members of the audience are also invited to take the floor, including Kumi Naidoo, the International Executive Director of Greenpeace, who stresses the importance of a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement.
Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aiping, the Chief Negotiator of the Group of 77, also takes the floor and references Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s letter to all leaders, stating that “better no deal than bad deal.” Di-Aiping concludes that the fundamentals of the deal are extremely flawed.
Then, quickly, Mohamed Nasheed adds, “We are in the G77, and we want an agreement from Copenhagen, and we do not agree with that viewpoint at all.” We must reach an agreement. There are numerous blocs, many of which are obsolete and outdated, dating back to the cold war. We each have a unique set of problems. This negotiation is not concerned with the outcome.”
The moderator also asked Kavin Rudd to respond to the question “It is fair to say there will not be a full complete international binding treaty in Copenhagen, so what next?”
“…it’s just one part,” Kevin Rudd said of pledges from the United States and other developed countries to assist poor countries in coping with and adapting to climate change. “Regardless of how far we go, there will be a lot to do in the next round of talks. I believe we can close the deal under the chairmanship of Felipe de Jess Calderón Hinojosa.”
Moderator asked Mexico’s President, “Do you think you’ll be hosting a meeting like this in Mexico a year from now?”
“I hope it’s different,” says Calderón.
The moderator then asks, “Should world leaders stay in Copenhagen to try to reach an agreement, or should they leave for Mexico a year from now?”
“We need to do anything in a couple of days in order to reach an agreement; in any case, what we want to do after Copenhagen is to start a new negotiating process in order to reach a binding treaty. We are going to ask anyone, American or Chinese, to put their cards on the table in order to reach an agreement. This is the only world we have, and we don’t have much time left,” Calderón concludes.
Ms. Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Environment Minister, is then asked by the moderator, “From an African perspective, should we hammer it now or regroup in Mexico?”
“Legally binding is possible here in Copenhagen; it just takes leadership to achieve that kind of result,” Buyelwa emphasised.
The same question was put to the EU representative, who stated, “We need an agreement now.” We need to pass legislation within the next six months. In the EU, we already have a progressive legally binding treaty. We won’t be able to agree on financing unless we reach an agreement now. We must take immediate action. We don’t have a lot of time.”
Mohamed Nasheed provides the final response. “World leaders are capable of reaching an agreement in Copenhagen. It is still possible that it will occur tomorrow. We can’t hope for a deal with Mexico. It will continue indefinitely.”
It’s a fantastic TV debate, in my opinion.
On the top line message that is being distributed via the email list;
“Industrialised countries have brought climate talks to the brink of collapse by refusing to accept deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts or provide adequate funding for developing country action and adaptation.
Anger over this failure to take the lead has led to developing countries suspending work on several occasions and created divisions between the vulnerable countries who are fighting for their survival and the emerging economies who want to hold industrialized countries to account but are afraid they themselves will be unfairly forced to take legally binding targets.
World leaders arriving in Copenhagen, especially Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy and Brown must take control of this shambolic situation. They must lead and deliver us a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal to avert climate chaos.”