COPENHAGEN: An Updated Look at A Global Day of Action

UPDATE: Negotiations stalled today in Copenhagen when African nations walked out in protest of perceived attempts by rich nations to kill the Kyoto Protocol, as Talking Points Memo reports. The talks are back in session now. Watch Link TV’s live stream from Copenhagen for more on this story as it develops.

On Saturday, December 12, climate activists rallied to call for a binding climate agreement. Vigils, fasts, and protests were held around the world, and in the largest environmental demonstration in history, 100,000 activists marched in downtown Copenhagen from the Christiansborg Palace to the Bella Center, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop15) is being held.

Overall, the march was peaceful and positive, ending with a vigil outside the Bella Center, where the demonstrators were greeted by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. However, Danish police detained more than 500 activists at the back of the line, where European “black bloc” anarchists were trying to infiltrate, as Jacob Wheeler and Chuck Olsen report for The UpTake.

Kumi Naidoo, the first African leader of Greenpeace, is optimistic and enthusiastic about a deal in Copenhagen—and the role activists will play in making it happen. In an interview with Madeline Ostrander for Yes! Magazine, Naidoo says that the “… summit itself would not be taking place had it not been for groups like Greenpeace and others who have fought for a very, very long time. The fact that we are here is in itself an expression of innovation, courage, and willingness to speak truth to power.”

According to Naidoo, activists are putting pressure on leaders by working both inside and outside the negotiations, and “delegations are reaching out to us as they try to figure out what’s happening. Sometimes we civil society folks get to know what these countries are doing and thinking before some of the other negotiators do.” Without the “sweat of activist groups,” Naidoo says, Copenhagen wouldn’t even be happening.

OneClimate posted a video overview (below) of demonstrators’ work at the Cop15 climate march on Saturday. “People are not in Copenhagen to bury the climate treaty, ” said Vandana Shiva, Director of Navdanya, a women-centered movement for the protection of biological and cultural diversity. “They are here to implement it! Let this be the time where, you, marching to the Cop15, tell the leaders, ‘We have the power… we will be the change we want to see, and no one is going to stop us.’”


In other news, Tuvalu and other small island nations introduced a proposal that would commit the world’s developed nations to reducing greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep their islands habitable. They want Cop15 to produce two binding agreements: One to extend the Kyoto Protocol and make it stricter, and another that would require the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuvalu’s lead negotiator, Ian Fry, made an impassioned plea to the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama, and the entire UN climate conference Saturday, telling them that his country’s very survival depends on the decisions they make in the next week, as Jeffrey Allen reports for OneWorld. Fry’s speech brought other nations’ officials to tears.

“The fate of my country rests in your hands,” Fry told the other delegates.

This weekend’s action helped set the stage for an exciting second week in Copenhagen, as Geoffrey Lean writes for Grist. “If the conference is successful, then the more than 100 world leaders due to come to the Danish capital this week will initiate the biggest economic change since the Industrial Revolution.”

There are still arguments over the details of any final deal, such as how the measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions will be monitored and verified, who will fund it, and how to retain and improve the Kyoto Protocol.

“The likeliest outcome is a toughened Kyoto Protocol, with a linked treaty covering the United States and developing countries (at present excluded from its provisions) and new agreements made in Copenhagen,” Lean writes. “… It will be one big package, or nothing. And it may all come down to the last few hours of the last day—or night, since no one wants to move until the last minute. The outcome of the Copenhagen talks is going to be a cliffhanger.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

By Alison Hamm, Media Consortium 


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Renee L.
Renee L7 years ago

OK, here is a little climate education for all your naysayers. First off, we have only warmed a few tenths of a degree over the last 30 years, perfectly normal. One degree people will not cause the earth to burn up.
Common sense tells us that if it was 31 degrees average this year during the winter. So let's say the average tempreture rises to average 32 degrees as an average for winter over the next 30 years. Could any of you explain to me how in the world one degree is going to cause us to burn up? Please explain this to me so that I understand. Maybe I am missing something, but look at our earth's history. Weren't we at one time entirely tropical? How do you explain that especially since it was before man inhabited the earth. Could you also explain how and why Mars, Pluto, and other planets in our solar system are also warming? Explain this in laymen's term so that I may understand so that I am not a total denier.

bob m.
bob m7 years ago

cadillac man, cadillac woman;
trillions spent in flat tops.
neanderthal,cro magnon, cadillac man,
stonehenge, daytona;
your sorceries have become wormwood.
your crons spin in the dust;
slashing away at the air;
stabbing with their tongues.
mixing this with that in their pots
Gore and big oil, bats wings and vinegar.
Leathers and feathers; nose down in the dessert;
cadillac fossils under tommorrows red sky.
finger pointing a frenzy as their hand turns the lie.

Mervi R.
Mervi R7 years ago

Thanks for the info!

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r7 years ago

Although something happened I still believe they could do more .
I am worry about our earth and the poor and those live in risky ... I pray something will happen.
God bless all

Jean A.
Jean A7 years ago

I agree with Lea C that the Military Industrial complex is alive and well. Eisenhower warned us about this, but big oil wants their profits and will get it and Congress makes their millions from military investments and insurance companies. The reason for the big fight and then we have the Liebermans who are in bed with the Insurance Companies. We could go on and on. Will anything be done about carbon emissions? I doubt it.