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COPENHAGEN: Peaceful Protests Turn Violent in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN:  Peaceful Protests Turn Violent in Copenhagen

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop15) turned ugly today when police officers beat back hundreds of demonstrators, including a group of 50 to 100 delegates that were trying to meet with the protesters.

More than 250 people were arrested, including spokespeople for Climate Justice Action (CJA), a global network of NGOs that organized a walkout at the Bella Center today. CJA’s spokesperson Dan Glall told Mantoe Phakathi at Inter Press Service that “as a condition for going back to the negotiations, we demand industrialized nations uphold the Kyoto Protocol, commit adequate funds to adaptation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly.”

OneClimate has video of today’s walkout.

VIDEO:video

“More than 1,000 people have been arrested, detained and released over the course of the past week,” Jennifer Prediger writes for Grist. “Some were made to sit on freezing sidewalks for six hours in a nasty version of time out. The people who threw rocks and set cars on fire were rightfully detained.  But the droves who were dragged in last night for dancing awkwardly in Christiana?  Seems like overkill to me.”

The chaos outside reflects the increasing pressure inside the Bella Center, as delegates turn to the United States and China for leadership in the final days of the summit. Together these countries account for 42 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

In order to finalize a global climate agreement in Copenhagen, both countries need to take a big step forward, as David Doniger and Barbara Finamore report for Grist. For the U.S., this means aid for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people; for China, this means making steady progress to meet the country’s carbon reduction goals.

The U.S. has already committed to pay its share of a $30 billion fund to last through 2012. “But to lead in Copenhagen, the U.S. needs to back even larger investments to meet these core needs for the longer-term—2015 or 2020,” Doniger and Finamore write. “China has the opportunity to enhance its standing as a responsible world leader by building global confidence in the implementation of its carbon reduction goals.”

But as David Corn reports for Mother Jones, China and the U.S. are apparently “stuck in a standoff.” An Obama administration official insisted that it’s not about the money: “‘We have to get the developing nations into an international agreement,’ the official said… Yet China has forcefully resisted the idea of incorporating their self-professed emissions goals (essentially, slowing the growth rate of emissions) into a binding agreement. China has also repeatedly said that it will not submit its performance to official outside vetting.”

Corn writes, “But with 115 heads of states beginning to arrive, the Copenhagen talks have left some fundamental gaps for the last minute. Even if those gaps are bridged, the resulting agreement could fall far short of what experts say is necessary to redress the dire consequences of rising global temperatures. Just ask the scientists roaming the halls.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Copenhagen today in a last minute appearance. Clinton has booked a full day of meetings on Thursday and will join President Barack Obama in negotiations when he arrives Friday. Like Obama’s schedule switch at the conference (he originally planned to be there last week and instead will arrive Friday), Clinton’s arrival could indicate the U.S.’s intention to seal a deal by the end of the week.

For live updates of the negotiations and protests, check out The Uptake’s live video stream from the Bella Center.

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

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UN Climate Conference
By Alison Hamm, Media Consortium

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11 comments

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11:32PM PDT on May 10, 2013

Thank you for article.

11:32PM PDT on May 10, 2013

Thank you for article.

11:31PM PDT on May 10, 2013

Thank you for article.

11:28PM PDT on May 10, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:18PM PST on Dec 18, 2009

concrete? too much of it covers the earth and too many have
minds like concrete parking lots.

9:35PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

Clinton objectively mentioned that the US would contribute US$100B, yesterday. I am not sure whether thats just all talk or action. All I know is that, America still owes the UN in billions for various projects. How is that suppose to materialise?

9:32PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

This sort of activism is a farce and unobjective. The protestors only hurt themselves in the process and still the conference may eventually turn out to be nothing or no action at all. C'mon this is an UN action forum so do not expect anything concrete. Nothing has ever been concrete!

2:24PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

herbert v, sorry to say that if that's the worst police brutality you've ever seen in a so-called democratic society; you haven't been paying attention. i remember seeing bull oconnors pigs powerhosing and beating defenseless black women and kids for seeking decent education equality. i remember the DNC chicago convention in 1968. i remember when they sent in the guard here in NYC to seize the park and oust the area's squatters and homeless in greenwich village. 41 bullets ended diallo's life for the crime of stepping out of his building into a foursome of ghouliani's gestapo in the bronx and he was just one of over 800 suspicious deaths under rudy g, almost all of whom were young blacks. think WTO protestors getting bashed in seattle and miami by the hundreds. and i think they call israel and iran democracies.

2:17PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

in 1968, after hersh released the photos of my lai (one of over 220 other civilian towns exterminated under operation hamlet, then exported to cambodia, el salvador, guatemala, etc); 60% of americans opposed the viet war... but in this demockery the war wasn't ended until 1974, some million viet deaths later (and don't forget kissinger-nixon also backed pol pot who killed 2.7 million...)

all the peaceful peace demonstrators real effect was zero. but the weather underground bombed several war plants like DOW chemical makers of agent orange/napalm, etc. it was later estimated that the shutting of that war production saved some 20-30,000 vietnamese lives. in other words, bernardine dohrn and her brave friends ACTUALLY HAD AN EFFECT.

the disaster of climate change (really just one of over 20 ecological disasters caused by the industrial revolution's gross mismanagement) is going to kill tens of millionsof people, especiallly the poorest, not to mention the other lifeforms extinguished. let the revolution start here and now. let it be as nonviolent as possible but as malcolm x said, 'by any means necessary.'

4:55AM PST on Dec 17, 2009

Yesterday evening (Wednesday) I saw in the news, how the demonstreators were treated by police. There was a video from German ARD broadcast (governmental). Seldom I have seen such brutal police in a democratic country. I am embarrased!

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