These last couple of days I have been feeling very uncomfortable here in the Bella Centre. Getting into the building, even with the correct badge, has been an endurance test through long queues and brusque policemen.
NGOs have been issued with a secondary pass to limit our numbers in a vast conference centre that not crowded with 15,000 people. Now, with the restrictions, it feels really empty. Is security the real reason, or the wish not to be scrutinised by civil society?
We have had to select people who will be among the 1000 NGO participants for tomorrow, on a strategic basis – trying to represent regions, key issues, ability to reach to high level people in delegations, as well as familiarity with the key issues that still need to be fought for. The rest of us will work from a nerve centre in Copenhagen, feeding messages to support those inside.
So we are shackled right when the negotiations really are on a knife-edge. With so many major unresolved issues left to the heads of state, it is hard to be optimistic unless either America or China is willing to accept legally-binding emissions reduction targets.
As weak or non-existent targets litter the negotiating table, the world is faced with warming of 3 or 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels – and even higher temperature rises for parts of Africa. Lack of ambition, morality and selflessness are currently putting these regions and small island states well beyond the reach of adaptation. Yet even this provision, a support system supposed to compensate for the loss associated with global warming, hangs in the balance and largely unsupported by developed countries.
Many of us have worked so hard to get climate justice for vulnerable groups, and find it very painful that at present these people are not even mentioned in the text – deletion at the express wish of their own governments, the majority (or loudest voices) within the G77 group.
It is indeed a dark day here. We can only hope, and those of faith should pray, for the world’s leaders to act in the world’s interest, not, as they seem to do now, for the greed of the powerful fossil fuel industry and their own short-term political survival.