Success…?!

December 18, 2009

This post will be slightly choppy because I am writing as the press conference for a possible agreement is about to begin.  Please read the following two news articles: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8421880.stm and http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/19/science/earth/19climate.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp (note: Canada is virtually non-existant regarding participation; probably a good thing).  Some quotes from the NY Times:

“The maneuvering that has characterized the final week of the talks are also a sign of their seriousness; never before have global leaders come so close to a meaningful agreement to reduce the greenhouse gases linked to warming the planet…”

“…But the Chinese resistance on the issue is matched in large measure by Mr. Obama’s own constraints. The Senate has not yet acted on a climate bill that the president needs to make good on his promises of emissions reductions and on the financial support that he has now promised the rest of the world.”

In summary so far:

Agreement is not legally binding (yet; maybe in months or possibly years), but 2 degrees has been agreed on.  India, US, China, and South Africa have been the main players in many of the meetings that are occurring.  While Obama has attended as many meetings as possible, China has mostly been sending in specifically selected representatives.  China and the US (the two largest emitters and among the largest economies) remain divided on many of the issues, which proves to be a problem in gaining confidence from other nations and groups including the EU.

The US had previously announced that regardless of what happens in Copenhagen they will continue on their course of action.  Generally countries are beginning to soften their views and are beginning to accept compromises.  While about $200 billion (US) in public financing is needed every year for 10 years, the US has committed $100 billion per year for the 10 years (in public and private financing) – not ideal but an important first step.  Similar to the US, China does not want any international hand in their emissions reporting on the basis of intrusiveness, and they have volunteered to report on emissions using internal sources.

After a long night, the New York Times claims that everyone is continuing to work towards having an agreement written by the morning.  Watching the news now, it seems an agreement may already have been drafted.  I’ll report on the press conference as soon as it’s over.

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Our last intervention

December 18, 2009

Here is the intervention the youth made in the early afternoon at today’s high-level meeting:

Thank you mister President for giving us the floor.

Good afternoon fellow human beings.

My name is Juan Carlos, and in the year 2050 I will be 64 years old. I am proud to represent the International Youth Climate Movement.

Christina Ora, a 17 year old from the Solomon Islands, addressed the opening plenary two weeks ago. She said “I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time.”

We have all worked for the past two years with the promise of a strong deal in Copenhagen to safeguard our future.  Now it seems you will not get it done.

This is unacceptable. We placed our trust in you. You should be ashamed. 

The United Nations was created to solve humanitarian and social crises, but instead of standing united, you are now the Divided Nations. Humanity can and must do better. Mother Nature will not negotiate with us.

You must set targets to get us back below 350 parts per million. You must agree on fair, sufficient AND additional financing to pay back the ecological debt to those most vulnerable.

The Youth dream of a sustainable future shared by all humanity. There is wisdom in the people’s hearts, and people are ingenious. We CAN solve this crisis if we just choose so. But this requires going beyond selfish national interests.

We support those nations who have refused to sign a suicide pact. We call on all nations not to accept anything that does not guarantee survival and climate justice.

The Youth believe that you care enough for the future of your children and grandchildren to sign a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement.

There will be no decisions about us, without us.

Rest assured that we will keep on working, and we will keep on pushing you harder and harder, until the deal is sealed.

Please do it now.

Thank you.

Video of the intervention here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07HSJMtd1Uc

Deal or No Deal?

December 18, 2009

What the science tells us that we need to lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to at LEAST 350 ppm (the “safe” level), and that any warming more than 1.5-2 degrees celsius (which should really be capped at 1.5 degrees, especially considering that even at this level warming in regions such as Africa will be almost doubled) will cause the state of entire ecosystems to shift.  While all the different drafting groups were making progress on their assigned issues (some making more progress than others) there was an under-the-table text being drafted, which the Danish PM presented unexpectedly during the reconvened session late last night.  In this text, drafted by countries like Australia, the UK, and others.  The text proposes new numbers that are based on politics and continued economic growth, which do not reflect the urgency as depicted by the science.  The proposed numbers include a new safe level of 550 ppm and warming of 3 degrees or more.  Apparently, although the text is still under revision, it will be submitted to heads of state in an attempt to create a new accord (the easy way out of these negotiations) with no new commitment period.  The following is an email from one of our insiders:

Dear all,

interesting developments tonight.  as the drafting groups were meeting
and agreeing text, the president was drafting another text that could
serve to undermine the work.  the powers that be are still trying to
force a single outcome and have floated a text that joins KP and LCA
despite numerous statements by the G77 and China that they want a two-
track outcome, and a two-track process.  the G77 still is insisting on
an open process, with documents drafted out in the open rather than
behind closed doors.  there were G77 consultations with the result
that the G77 again requested a two-track outcome with a friends of the
chair process where representation in the group was transparent and
acceptable.
it’s getting interesting, but not necessarily pleasant. the G77
continues to be angry at the untransparency of a process where the
president says one thing is happening and the next thing you know
there is a new text drafted by some unknown group put on the table.

regards,

Doreen

It seems as though there are many parties (i.e. Canada) who wish to stall the process to the point where leaders are so frustrated and pressured that they will sign any agreement that is presented as a solution for all.  Thankfully some are still fighting strong, and those for whom survival is not a case of economics see through it.  Here are some links regarding the leaked text and the negotiations last night:

Yesterday we had youth inside the Bella Center from mid-morning until past 4am last night.  Still I cannot seem to get a smooth stream for watching plenaries, and so I’ll have to rely on information from these insider sources.  At around 4 am last night Connie reconvened the drafting groups for reports.  Some groups had very positive results and were able sort through numerous issues, while others could not agree on some aspects and reported that more time would not help.  Drafting groups working on adaptation, agriculture, response measures, technology, and REDD reported the most progress.  Compensation, capacity building, mitigation, and NAMAs were among the issues that remain unresolved.  The actual notes and other email updates I’ve received today can be downloaded: Friday 18 December 2009.

So, deal or no deal?  With what’s on the table at the moment, NO DEAL.  If you’re interested in watching the archived (or live) discussions,  go to http://www6.cop15.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop15/templ/ovw.php?id_kongressmain=1&theme=unfccc.

“We are all Maldivian”…

December 18, 2009

The quote in the title was said by President Nasheed of the Maldives.  Sort of reminds me of an essay I read during the Redfish program titled “You are now Mexican”.  In both cases the quotes refer to individuals who, despite different backgrounds and lifestyles, are all in a fight together.  This is truly a representation of our time now.  The only difference is that the Maldives will likely disappear far before the 2050 mark.

Updates from last night’s reception:

Last night I went to a reception/book launch gala in celebration of some excellent texts by people and organizations who have actually focused on getting things done (http://www.environment.utoronto.ca/Events/COP15.aspx number 4, and http://www.cisdl.org/pdf/copenhagen_events/reception_dec09_screen006.pdf).  There was a strong presence by the Assembly of First Nations, for whom regional Chief Shawn Atleo spoke many words of wisdom.  He spoke of how his ancestors and his family live(d) in harmony with the land, giving an example of the way in which one would use the bark of the cedar tree for many uses (i.e. to make garments) and yet the tree would continue living.  He also described the ways in which nature itself can guide and teach us.  The example here was the birds which “live in the moment”, which can get into a fight and then minutes later “rough up their feathers” and fly off together with an understanding of their relationship with one another.  I had some interesting conversations with Sean, Stuart (Environment Director), and Bremley (I shall call him an environmental warrior).

Throughout the night I also had the pleasure to converse with several individuals from the World Future Council (WFC).  One of the first people I met throughout the night was Randy Hayes, Director of the US liason office for the WFC (who was involved in the formation of the FIT program in both the US and Canada).  Randy kindly introduced to two other very interesting WFC people. Stefan Schurig is the Climate and Energy Director based out of Germany, and Jakob Von Uexkull is the founder of the Right Livelihood Award.  Conversing with all three was a great experience, as they all are so knowledgeable and approachable.

Throughout the night I continuously bumped into Stephen Bede Scharper, Associate Professor in the Centre for Environment at the University of Toronto.  It seems that environment professors everywhere are awesome!  Another contact is Howie Chong, president of CarbonZero in Toronto.  I look forward to potential collaborative opportunities with him in the near future.  And then there’s Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.  What a wonderful woman, full of life and passion!  She spoke of the current negotiations, youth involvement, the issue of civil society being barred from the conference, and other pressing items.  Perhaps one of the most important reminders she gave us is that even a complete fail here in Copenhagen is far better than a false success (a bad deal).  Perhaps something for our ‘leaders’ to think about.  Refer to next post for details on the new leaked text and updates on the state of the COP.

Political Deadlock and a Complete Mess

December 17, 2009

NOTE: “Placeholders” are comments that replace actual information which describe what information will be there.  For example: [text about Annex 1 targets here].

 

LCA Meeting Minutes:

Because of the last-minute nature of these discussions and also due to the many security breaches and leadership shuffling, the conference seems to be in a desperate state.  Progress is consistently being made and yet it seems to be continuously overrun with redundant revisions and bad politics.  Currently the AWGs have been split up into may drafting groups in order to find solutions to the many issues that surround them; the LCA group has about 7 drafting groups already.  It seems to me that what we need now is not an increase in separately drafted ‘solutions’ but rather unified revision and brainstorming on whatever is already on the table.  This is particularly important since many of the delegations (i.e. Venuzuela) do not have the numbers to disperse themselves among the plethora of meetings and groups that occur simultaneously, thus making the process less inclusive.

While most nations are agreeing to a legally binding outcome, Mexico has suggested that they take over the binding drafts for the COP16 and the UK as estimated 6 months to a year for any outcome here to become legally binding.  Non-confidence in the current COP president (Denmark’s PM) has been expressed formally.  Fortunately Connie (ex-president of COP, now the president’s “special appointee”) is the one heading the various groups and consultations, so she is still in a position to head discussions (as many nations had hoped for).

Issues that arose during the LCA meeting include:

  • There is still a lack of a full draft text, and many nations feel that a clean draft is needed to submit to the heads of state (no brackets, placeholders, etc.)
  • There are no clear numbers for targets for Annex 1 parties
  • Something needs to be done about the placeholders
  • Grammar
  • Handling of adaptation
  • Bali Roadmap needs to be followed
  • Where bunker fuels fits in, whether this text will be a starting basis despite some resistance, if this text is returning others should too (which would likely bring us back to similar circling discussions like the one on contact groups in the first few days)
  • Capacity building

The meeting was suspended to allow other meetings to take place.  It is to be reconvened in the “very late afternoon”.

CMP Meeting Minutes (thanks to Aniruddha Sharma on the inside):

The CMP meeting and draft relate specifically to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  Main points:

  • E+/- text from decision 2/CMP.4 has been agreed by Parties to be included in para. 9 but para. 10 is still being discussed and highly bracketed (EU will not accept 2nd part of para. 10, but would be willing to direct the EB to provide further guidance)
  • Use of “sectors”, “sectoral”: removed from edits to paras. 11 and 45(a)
  • Materiality (para. 22) is still included
  • Standardized methods and baselines (paras. 24(c) and 45(a)) still a point of contention.  Some Parties want to either delete or move this discussion to CMP.6, but others (EU) strongly oppose and want to deal with this in CMP.5
  • Consensus to discuss text on forests in exhaustion (para. 25) at CMP.6 and not here
  • CCS (paras. 27 and 28) now have 3 options provided for ministers, but also could be pushed to CMP.6
  • Kuni believes this text should be sent up to the ministerial level, but Brazil and Grenada strongly oppose sending this to the ministers until there is agreement and consensus (and no brackets)

Attached is a copy of the draft with the attendee’s notes:  CMP draft decisions (CDM)_16.12.09_after informals

No access whatsoever!

December 17, 2009

Civil society is so excluded from the conference that all side events have been cancelled, the youth arcade cleared out (as can be seen in the prior post), and even the media has marginalized us.  All day I’ve been trying to tune into live and archived plenaries, yet there is no access to them at the moment because of the sheer volume of viewers at this moment.  The only real update I have at the moment is an interview with one of the party members by one of the 12 youth who were allowed into the Center today: http://adoptanegotiator.org/2009/12/17/what-we-can-expect-from-kyoto-ghosh-speaks-out/.

Apparently the two texts that the new COP President has put on the table are both based on the texts put forward by the AWGs.  I cannot confirm this as the texts are not yet available for review.  The youth space is in full operation, and several other events/actions are being planned.  We are waiting n police approval for a “strictly peaceful” action where all the youth would join hands in a circle around the Bella Center tomorrow (the last scheduled day of the COP) with a message that says “our leaders cannot leave until a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement has been reached”.  If I decide to attend it will be from the subway platform for filming purposes.

I’ll keep trying to link into the plenaries.  Later on tonight I’ll be going to a gala/book launch. This should make up for missing last night’s networking event on celebrating small-scale successes in Canada.  Details below:

Climate Justice & Sustainability / Reception
In this Book Launch Reception & Celebration, global leaders & COP delegates will keynote on the low-carbon economy, sustainability & indigenous rights, & will toast brilliant new international publications such as Freestone & Streck, Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading: Kyoto, Copenhagen & Beyond (OUP 2009) with wine, cheese, hot hors d’oeuvres & chocolates. This event is chaired by the CISDL and the IDLO, with Oxford University Press and our hosts, the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, in collaboration with the consortium of world-class universities and international organisations.
• 19:30 – 21:30 Thurs Dec 17, IETA Lounge, Mt Everest Foyer, Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

Hopefully more updates regarding plenary will be posted soon, otherwise I’ll use the summary and insider emails available tomorrow.

Updates from last night until now…

December 17, 2009

It is quarter to 1pm on Thursday 17 December.  After sifting through the 30 emails from the UNFCCC youth group (YOUNGOs we’re called internally, Youth NGOs), I have some updated intel on the protests yesterday as well as what has happened in the Bella Center.  Firstly, we are all quite angry that out of the nearly 2,000 youth that have made their way over here (most by their own means),  only 12 were allowed into the Center today.  For the rest of civil society (about 30,000) there are 988 passes allowed.  Here is a video taken by some of our 12 youth this morning of what the youth arcade, once buzzing with crowds of people going to the hundreds of exhibits (which were forced to be taken down yesterday, whether they were NGO booths or governmental organizations): http://www.vimeo.com/8231100

Some newly circulated videos from yesterday’s protest, where people were beaten whether or not they were violent (different crowds are shown) are found below.  Note that you can often see other officers pulling away those few who are excessively forceful without reason: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz_YYFN45mM and http://www.grist.org/article/video-activists-beaten-by-police-after-march-from-bella-center/

Within the negotiating part of the conference, here are some general points on what’s going on:

  • There was a security breach at the G77 meeting and the reporting youth was there inside to have a meeting with her delegation:
  • They are tabling the proposal to introduce the contact group on Kyoto first rather than LCA, and the Chair told All the Annex 1 people to please leave the meeting.
  • Bernaditta also expressed her lack of confidence in the process and called for the Bali action mandate to be the basis of negotiations and her lack of trust in the presidency (the Danish PM).
  • India and China are very insistent that they will NOT commit internationally for any commitment, and if forced to India will walk out.
  • Denmark will propose setting up two processes, both chaired by Connie, to work with ministers on the basis of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP texts.  She will use ministerial contact groups to work on crunch issues and bring their work back to the COP and COP/MOP.  This has apparently been approved by the G-77 and other blocks (Reported by Aiden).

Currently there is a lot of negative chaos going on at the conference, as there is only one scheduled day left (although they are likely to extend the conference to Saturday).  At this point there will likely be some compromises on the table that will be sifted through over the next few months until the negotiators reconvene in Bonn in March for what we call COP15.5 (or COP15b).  More updates on the actual process and political activities to come later on since much of what’s going around needs to be confirmed.

The reason for the need for confirmation? The Yes Men (http://theyesmen.org/).  They are activist imposters who find creative and devious ways to pressure authorities into changing their ways.  This past Tuesday they passed a fake press release with fake governmental contact info announcing Canada’s fake new ambitious targets, supposedly in response to the self-suspended participation by many nations I mentioned in that post.  The targets they announced included a “40% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050” – basically what needs to happen.  This occurred just a half hour before Canada ACTUALLY went into a press briefing, where the Minister and Canada’s reps were berated with questions like “how are you going to meet your new ambitious targets?”, to which Canada embarrassingly denied any attempt at ambitious targets.  Here are some links to the falsified press reports: http://www.stinkyjournalism.org/editordetail.php?id=570 (note that the vid at the top of the page with the African “Rep” was also a fake congratulations set up by the yes men), and http://www.enviro-canada.ca/agenda2020.

The reality: Canada has only committed a 3% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020.  However Canada has also recently (almost in response to the Yes Men stunt) announced that many selected oil and coal projects will be excluded from their plans to decrease CO2 output.  Also apparently, Canada’s “targets” are based on science (yeh, probably political science), are ambitious, and are on track with meeting our goals.  BS; we are actually steadily increasing our emissions.  Oh yes, and according to Dany Drouin (Senior Policy Analysis for Enviro-Canada, and public point person for the Canadian Delegation), Canada really does want a legally binding agreement, for example under Kyoto.  Wow, I’m very ‘impressed’.

Common Message from the International Youth Climate Movement

December 16, 2009

Formed by the youth throughout the conference, submitted to the UNFCCC:

Read the rest of this entry »

WOW Wednesday the 16 – CHAOS!

December 16, 2009

I had a nice late sleep-in today with no intention to go by Bella (gave me the chance to organize my Bella Center texts that I’ve collected throughout the past week, as well as get rid of my garbage, organize places for laundry, store food, and re-fold all my clothes :)… I feel better).  I gave my secondary badge to one of my roommates, as last night I was warned that the Center would be brimming with violent protest today (led by some individuals who intentionally wanted to get arrested under the watch of many international news cameras).  It is now 8:35 pm and there are FOUR big things that happened today:

1. President of COP resigns

This morning while packing up my things, my roommate ran in with the news that Connie had resigned her position as COP president.  This came as a shock to many on the boat, although when you read into procedure it should have been expected.  The Prime Minster of Denmark, Lars Loekke Rasmussen, appointed himself as the new President with Connie being appointed “special representative of the Presidency to conduct informals and negotiations”.  One of the first things Lars did was bring forward two proposals, a proposed compromise outcome for both the one-track and two-track result (some information from the leaked Danish text included).

At first there was resistance because Connie was initially to oversee all UNFCCC negotiations. Apparently because of the volume of heads of state (apparently there are over 110, plus their delegations/accompanying persons) and the nature of discussions, the conference has now systemically moved from being under the Framework Convention to becoming its own climate summit, therefore going above and beyond Connie’s election to Presidency (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8859408).

We are not entirely sure what this means yet for the negotiations.  So far the entire AWG LCA has already been bracketed (up for revision), and KP may become irrelevant – which is against what the G77 and China want.  AOSIS, LDCs, and other small developing nations are now compromised because without the Framework Convention as the overarching procedural body for ALL negotiations, their voices are now less influential and very much unequal regarding the consideration of proposals; they have less power when having discussions between heads of state and ministers.

Unfortunately the two proposals that Lars has brought forward have not been available for reading yet, so we’ll see what kind of compromises are being made in future updates.

2. Civil riots rock the exterior of Bella

As most of civil society was locked out of the building today, there were hundreds of people who felt the need to protest the restriction.  It had been in the planning stages since the announcement for secondary badges came out this weekend, and escalated into violence very quickly when the UNFCCC ceased all registration today.  There were individuals who were inside and outside the Center who positioned themselves under cameras and acted out to be arrested.  Today there was even talk about tearing down fence lines and charging police barricades.

Follow this link to watch some of the most violent parts of the disturbance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puiAD69B5v4, before arrests were made.  After these events Bella was closed to any NGOs who wanted access, whether they had a secondary badge or not.  Also, anyone accredited by the two organizing NGOs, Friends of the Earth and Avaaz, were discredited indefinitely. About 250 people were detained temporarily, and I’m not sure how many formal arrests were made.

On Saturday after the march I had to explain to all the delegates, parties, and observers in the Bella Center that the hundreds of people they were watching on the TV screen I stationed myself at  that these individuals were not part of the main mass march. I explained countless times that there were those who were angrier and who had less control than the rest of us who stayed behind the march and who decided to break windows and attack officers in their fury.  These were the individuals who were arrested, along with 900 others at the back of the mass who were unlucky enough to be detained as a precautionary measure.  I also reminded them that while the media was focusing on these 900 something people, there were also over 100,000 others who came out today in good spirit, including the tens of thousands who were at that moment peacefully listening to a concert at the end point in a candle-lit vigil, some dancing and singing in celebration of the international unity that we created for the important cause at hand.  This is what people cannot forget, and what some minorities, such as those who acted out today, compromise for the rest of us.  Naomi Klein made a statement this weekend with this exact message, and today an email was sent out which said the following:

“Dear friends,

I just want to express my sincere regret with the action undertaken by some of our young colleagues who are currently staging the illegal sit-in.

For the sake of their own visibility, they put the presence of NGOs at this particular conference but also at future climate change conferences at risk. It is because these kind of actions that the UN and the Danish government have to increase security levels that harm all of us directly.

I am similarly frustrated about the restricted NGO access and many of our delegation members have spent many hours in the cold and in inhumane conditions. In addition, I am very concerned about the level of progress of the negotiations. I therefore believe that we should speak out more forcefully, but always within the rules that are set by the UN Secretariat, and in particular, with methods that are helpful to the negotiation process. Blocking off corridors, making loud noises or intervening in official sessions of the Conference only frustrate the process further.

The actions of these people are highly irresponsible, unprofessional, self-centered and in the long run, self-defeating.

I hope to find organizations with a similar view on this in order to clarify our position towards the Secretariat.

Best regards,

Bart, IFLRY President “

There has already been debate back and forth on this email/issue, so far very much in dissent with the comments above.  Of course I have gotten involved as well, not as a leader of a delegation but rather as a member of the international youth climate movement, in support of the IFLRY comment.  In checking my email a moment ago, there are some youth who are currently looking into our legal rights as civil society to be involved in the negotiations (funny thing: this right was created in Denmark and is recognised under international law).  I doubt that will go anywhere since there are still 90 seats for civil society (out of about 25,000).  Loopholes and technical wording.

During COY one of our presenters, Wilson (a 350 organizer), made a very important comment that I feel should not be taken lightly: that youth are often seen as mere entertainment at these events, and occasionally as a nuisance.  We have to be careful with our actions to ensure that we are taken seriously.  I agree with this statement and the ones mentioned above, and while sometimes out-of-the-box measures (i.e. the peaceful mass march) are needed to raise awareness and attention or to get a message across, there are limits and procedures that need to be respected.  Hopefully this will not affect the already limited seats that are available for civil society in the final days of the climate forum.  Good luck to the negotiators.  Hopefully 350 ppm, 1.5 degrees, and other important messages will not be ignored.  “Survival is not negotiable”.

3. Bomb threat at Klimaforum

 This afternoon police closed Central Station (one of two main stations where all metro/S-train lines connect) as a result of a strange, “unidentified package” at the Klimaforum (a hotel/conference centre across the street from the station).  The Klimaforum is a people’s place, free for everyone to visit, so while it also makes a good target for lots of damage it may also have been  target because it is funded by the Danish government, who have now taken over the climate summit negotiations.  Everything is all clear and running now, with some delays immediately after reopening.

4. Youth sit-in within Bella Center

 Please visit the following link for what was a live blog on the events of the sit-in.  Includes some pix and some vids of security attempting (and failing) to remove the youth: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2009/12/16/live-blog-youth-activists-refuse-to-leave-before-everyones-voices-are-heard/

In addition to the sit-in, there were some other protests going on inside.  The video below shows the non-violent protest lead by Josh (previously mentioned), who described that once they were thrown out of the Bella Centre the police got involved by beating them with clubs, using tear-gas, and pushing them around with police vehicles despite the non-violent nature of this particular protest.  Media coverage found here: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/12/16/police_tear_gas_beat_back_protesters

On a final note, it is now 10:10 pm and I am still on this darn ship.  Not going to lie, I’m a little disappointed that I chose to stay in and finish blogging at this particular point in time.  There’s an event going on right now and apparently all Canadian Ministers, politicians etc. have shown up for it!  I missed the one networking opportunity I could have REALLY taken advantage of (because of course all the other events I’ve gone to had to be the ones where everyone was too busy to attend).  GRRR!  So, after the past few days, and this disappointment I’m now going upstairs to the skybar, a lounge on the top deck enclosed with glass with a great view.  Wow, the snow is absolutely beautiful from in here, and I can’t wait to see it from upstairs.  Right now is the first snowfall that is actually staying on the ground (inches of it).  Fun times!

Update from Monday the 14 and Tuesday the 15…

December 16, 2009

On Monday 14 December

Today is the last day we can get into the Bella Center without a secondary badge.  This morning Elizabeth May was supposed to join our Canadian youth meeting, but she got caught in a registration line that took about 3 hours to go through!  I did not enter plenary this morning, where a mass confusion led to many nations refusing to participate in negotiations in what was reported as a mass walk-out (although technically it was only a suspension on participation): http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/developing-nations-walk-out-of-climate-talks/story-e6frfku0-1225810384368

From email:

“Turns out that even though secondary badges were JUST issued (to take effect tomorrow), there will be a consistent decrease in who can get in.  Parties themselves have only been permitted 4 badges on average, and of the 40,000 accredited only 90 will be able to be present for the final negotiations and adoption of any decisions.  I’ll be watching the live streams for most of the plenaries.

Thankfully all is not in disarray.  The youth have acquired an entire building we now call our Command Centre.  From tomorrow onwards this will be the central location for all our youth actions, media relations, and cooperative sharing between NGOs.  It’s only one train stop south of the main venue, and so we’ll probably be making our presence known nearby.  Also, the Klimaforum (educational side events that the Danish government has provided for members of the public and for we accredited people) promises to be of high interest over the next few days.  Last night a few of us went to the “Global Greens” event where Elizabeth May, Marina Silva, and several other “Greens” from different continents presented very hopeful, strong commitments to speak on our (youth’s) behalf at the negotiations.  Let’s hope so.  This is my last day of side events, unless I can share a badge with someone for the next day or two to take turns getting into the venue.

 There is a strange feeling in the atmosphere around here right now, as all the youth just came together one last time before civil society is kept out of the venue to make one last stand.  We (over 100 of us) lined the hallway between the plenaries and the exhibits (entrance/exits too) in silence for 15 minutes holding up simple messages on paper.  At the end we made some noise and ended with a special clap that starts off slow and gradually gets faster and faster until everyone was caught up in the spirit of the event and cheered for the hope of some sense and well-placed priorities in the negotiations.”

From 11 am to 12 pm I attended a high-level briefing by the chair of the IPCC (intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).  He confirmed that none of the so-called “climategate” text found its way into the recent IPCC report, as procedure ensures that all interested nations approve any information that is drafted before it is finalized.  We discussed the role of science and politics in the current negotiations, as well as how we should react to those like Lord Monckton, who called us “Hitler’s Youth”.  We also discussed the differences between a politically binding and a legally binding agreement, in addition to financing, tech transfer and the role of alternatives like nuclear.

At 2:30 (until 3:00) was a high-level briefing with the President of the COP, Connie Hedegaard, and others.  Unfortunately youth did not have so much of an opportunity to participate in this discussion.  Since we had some time to kill, a few of us spent some time following Jim Prentice around until he disappeared into the Canadian delegate’s main meeting room.  Eventually we were escorted out by their public point person (who at least was willing to answer our questions and give us his contact info as well as the email addresses of Jim Prentice and Michael Martin).  Later on Sylvie and Sarah (UWSP/UW delegate members) flagged Prentice down and questioned his motives regarding the negotiations.

After dinner we made our way back to Klimforum to watch the “Suicide Pact or Survival Pact” event with Bill McKibben and the President of the Maldives.  Turns out that the President of the Maldives was an hour late, so poor Bill had to keep stalling (“Just 20 more minutes… I’m told the President will be still another 20 minutes…. Ok, I’ve just gotten word that the President will be here in 10 minutes…” etc.).  We looked at a whole array of 350 photos (mostly from the October 24 Global Day of Action, which was until yesterday the largest global day of action in history.  According to Bill (who calculated this figure using a program that MIT brought over), the targets that were being discussed by leaders at this point in time would mean that at the turn of the century we’d have over 750 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere!  Anyway, the President finally arrived.  What an ordeal! He had spent months at a time, adding up to about 5 years, in prison because he and others kept protesting the oppression of their government, and now he stood before us as the Malives’ first democratically elected President it’s ever seen!

Dinner again at the Chinese restaurant down the street, one of the only affordable places to eat.  This place on the third night (Monday the 7) was where I used chopsticks for the first time, and now I’m getting quite used to it…  I know… for someone who is half Chinese that’s a little sad… :).

On Tuesday 15 December

This morning we slept in a short while then headed off in a hurry to catch the Energy Tours bus (we” being Laura, an independent delegate from Manitoba, and I).  We got to the Bella Center station only 10 minutes before the bus left, and found that there was a minimum of a 5-hour wait for registration!  Today was also the first day where secondary badges were necessary, and so we had to walk around and wait by the side of the street for the bus to leave the Bella Center area before we could get on.

We boarded another boat and took a tour of a small, 40MW wind farm (owned also by Dong Energies).  It was great (but freaking cold)!  While heading out we all had a presentation by some Dong reps and a free lunch.  We took some pictures and a video at the turbines, where you could actually hear the blades slicing through the air from our position under the turbine.  While circling the farm I joined a conversation between Dong reps and the Director of OSEA (Ontario Sustainable Energy Association), then networked a bit with him after the Dong reps left.  Looking like a possible co-op/collaboration! On our way back to the port we experienced the first actual snowfall of the season :).