Dec 08, 2009
The waiting is over. Yesterday was the first day of the Copenhagen climate summit and the Klimaforum - the people's climate summit. Our first posting is from the Klimaforum where I spent the day.
The official launch of the Klimaforum took place in the evening with music and speeches from Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina, Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International and Naomi Klein.
Nnimmo called for an end to backroom deals in the Bella Center - the venue of COP15 - and urged the delegates to listen to the voices coming from the people's summit.
The Kilmaforum was for "real people, talking about real problems, getting together to create movements and share the real solutions to climate change" he said.
On carbon offsetting he issued a red card to REDD, the carbon offsetting mechanism supported by many industrialised countries.
He finished his speech by calling on the audience to join him in one of his chants: "Keep the oil in the soil, keep the coal in the hole, keep the tar sands in the sand." Warmed up with Organic beer the audience were happy to oblige.
Following on from Nnimmo Naomi Klein the Canadian author of No Logo and the Shock Doctrine took to the stage and stated that “There is a difference between a deal and success and Klimaforum09 needs to be the lie detector when the politicians come out with a deal.”
This chimes exactly with Friends of the Earth International's demand that a deal is not what we're after it's a just climate agreement. This means emission cuts in developed countries, and money for developing countries to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change – but it also means a change in our consumption patterns.
As Naomi Klein put it, "Klimaforum is not about giving charity to the developing world it's about taking responsibility and the industrialised countries cleaning up our own mess.
Elizabeth Bast from Friends of the Earth US rounds up day one of the climate negotiations.
The ice is melting - literally. Sam Fleet began day one of the COP in the Bella Center where the official negotiations are taking place.
The day began at 06:30; a rushed breakfast followed by a crowded metro. We arrived at the Bella center to find Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) had installed a melting ice sculpture of the Mermaid statue, calling for climate justice at the entrance.
The atmosphere inside the centre was intense, and one of excitement. It was a huge transformation from the empty atrium I had seen the night before, into something akin to a train station at rush hour. It was entirely possible to spend the day exhausting yourself running around like a headless chicken, rushing from one spot to the next, without achieving anything.
The communications and media teamed discussed their strategy, although judging from the huge number of journalists and camera crews marching around the centre, it seemed there would be no difficulty getting coverage; we just had to provide the spokespeople – something FoEI has no shortage of, representing 77 countries.
I left after lunch in order to head to the Klimaforum – the global civil society counterpart of the official UN conference in the Bella Centre – where the second half of the FoEI communications team were based.
After a brief unintended detour through the centre of Copenhagen, past the Hopenhagen concert arena – a huge corporate sponsored initiative – I arrived at the Klimaform just in time to help out and take pictures at the FoEI opening press conference, with our chair, Nnimmo Bassey.
Nnimmo was then rushed in front of Associated Press, and German, Danish and Swedish TV channels, before taking the stage at the opening event for the Klimaforum. I passed through, en-route to a coordination meeting to watch the Danish Chime Transform - Lisbeth Diers playing on instruments sculpted out of ice. An enchanting performance, compounded by the fact, that near the end of the show, whether by design, or accident, the instruments began to shatter in the musician’s hands – melting under the hot stage lights.
A simple message: climate change waits for no-one. Act Now!
Call the on the Danish government - the hosts of the summit - to broker a just and transparent climate agreement.
Desperate to get any kind of deal, the Danish Prime Minister has been leading meetings with rich country negotiators to agree the wording of agreements before proposals are even on the table.
We need to make it clear to the Danish government that this isn't acceptable. And as the hosts of the talks, their responsibility is to ensure a fair and transparent process , not to broker a deal at any cost to the millions of people in developing countries who will suffer most.
Email the President of the Conference of Parties now.
This action is hosted by Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland.
There is no shortage of energy and creativity in the Bella Center as hour after hour a new protest fills the corridors from the straight forward banner to rather complex magic tricks.
Our magician try his best to magic away carbon emissions but it just doesn't work.
Young Friends of the Earth promote the Angry Mermaid Award
Offsetting protest in the Bella Center atrium
Take me to your climate leader