Copenhagen blog 10: World of contrasts | World Development Movement

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Copenhagen blog 10: World of contrasts

By Deborah Doane, 16 December 2009

Just back from Copenhagen

As you walk out of the Bella Centre in Copenhagen, where the main talks are taking place, you’ll find yourself accosted by an absurd small group of protestors accusing the British government of genocide for believing in climate change, and pushing a political agreement on the rest of the world. I didn’t take their leaflet, as doing so would be giving them a level of legitimacy they certainly don’t deserve. No climate denier does, but this one was extreme.

But its not the extremists I’m worried about – it’s the leaders of countries, like ours, that are failing to take bold action that really will make a difference. Safely back home, and warmly wrapped in a duvet this morning against the bitter outside cold, I listened to the Bolivian representative on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Angélica Navarro, remind us of the urgency of the situation. While the developed world waxes and wanes over a two degree warming target (still considered overly ambitious by the richest countries) she stated that two degrees in the global north, is really four degrees in Africa and Latin America. Melting glaciers in Bolivia are already impacting people’s very means of survival. And to make matters worse, taking measures to limit us to two degrees still only have a 50/50 chance of working.

WDM was caught up in the police tactics – one of our members was arrested for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time during the peaceful march. And while he was later released, we were shocked at his treatment and by the ongoing Danish clampdown on peaceful protest. The impacts of this are now ricocheting around the world, as protests are planned world-wide outside Danish embassies. The London protest is happening on Thursday afternoon at 4pm (55 Sloane Street).

In Copenhagen, if you only spent time in the Bella Centre, you would be forgiven for leaving Cop15 in complete despair. Imagine 35,000 hangers-on, in an anonymous conference centre, many from business to ensure the talks come up with the lowest common denominator possible. As Ed Crooks from the FT put it to me, “its like a party conference on steroids”.

Fortunately, the strength of civil society, in spite of the police, has been inspiring. And so have the coalition of southern governments who have stood in solidarity to ensure they either come up with the best deal possible or nothing at all. And I’m pleased to note that the concept of ‘climate debt’ now has political currency.

The Klimaforum, where I spent most of my time with inspiring southern activists, was a place to discuss ideas; to look beyond Copenhagen, and to build our movement. From Wahu Kaara, of Kenya Debt Relief Network, to Demba Moussa Dembele, of Senegal’s Forum for Africa Alternatives, one could truly imagine that a solution may actually be found. Having come home early, I missed the President of the Maldives at the Klimaforum saying that people not politicians can save the planet. And in spite of the chaos of the Bella Centre; the shocking behaviour of the Danish policy; and the complacency of Western governments, this statement gives me hope and the inspiration to continue our campaigns for justice.
 

I am for social justice and

I am for social justice and end poverty. But calling people name (climate denier)does not change the fact that AGW is a hoax. See the petition of the 32000 scientists of NIPCC http://www.nipccreport.org/index.html And yes the British government and EU has been giving subventions for bio fuel and palm oil responsible for the rise on food prices and deforestation so genocide.

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