Copenhagen – Just 48 Hours
Posted by Frances Orchard CJ
As the Heads of States arrive in Copenhagen for the final 48-hours of the Climate Change Conference the sense of urgency has increased. This was detectable yesterday at the Bella Centre as the number of ad hoc media studios sprang up in the corridors, security tightened, and NGOs held demonstrations against their impending exclusion. The UN held a briefing session for the NGOs – at which all the heads of sections were available for questions. Ban Ki-moon, the UN General Secretary, remains optimistic that it is still possible to ‘seal a deal’.
This morning Bella closed its doors finally on all except a handful of NGOs and we have been allocated a new venue at the Forum Centre. I am writing in a vast and almost empty hall whilst the TV cameras beam in the politicians speaking at COP15. Accessing up to date news is possible only via the internet as we can no longer access media briefings.
There has been some movement over-night with an initiative from Mexico to start up a ‘green fund’ in an attempt to force a break-through on the financial issue. A welcome sign that the sense of urgency is bringing some action.
As I write my last blog – I return to Rome tomorrow – I am listening to Kevin Rudd the Australian prime minister: When the history of this century comes to be written this conference will be viewed as a defining moment for this planet. Will the peoples of world have acted in concert, or were we so consumed with petty national interests that we turned against each other and failed to act together to save the planet? This is the largest gathering of human leaders in our history. The peoples of the world will judge us not just as nations – but also as individuals for what we do or fail to do. Will we, or will we not, have responded in conscience to the indisputable facts put before us by science? When I go home I will need to face this question with the next generation: did I do everything in my power to bring about climate change? If not, we will have failed our children and our planet’s future. History will be our judge.
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK is now speaking: we face the greatest global challenge of our time. We need to form a new alliance of the 192 countries present for the preservation of our planet. Scientific truths know no boundaries of nations or geography. Without a deal we will produce a new generation of poor as people flee climate change. The storms, floods, cyclones, droughts etc once thought to be the act of God are now known to be the act of man. We have a common future together. The challenges are difficult but there is no financial barrier, no lack of will. We must commit to a maximum of 2°C by 2015. Each country must commit to the highest possible level of mitigation possible for each. If we can find the funds to save our banks from the bankers we can find the funds to save our planet. There is no need to work against your national interests, but you need to advance your national interest more intelligently. History asks that we demand the most of ourselves. This conference will be blessed or blamed for generations to come. Our greatest national interest is the common future of this planet.
Fine words indeed – now we want to see the action. There are 48 hours in which to do it. Can self-interest be overcome for the sake of all?