The Finals Week to End Them All

December 17, 2009

Things are getting serious.  If a substantial agreement is going to be reached, it will emerge tomorrow and over the weekend.  So far, it looks like the delegates will determine the framework for REDD – a mechanism that allows countries to claim carbon credits for preserving forests – and maybe some minor details of other issues.  The U.S. has apparently tried to inject some last minute momentum into the negotiations by pledging to provide billions to developing countries.  Still, a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement seems nearly out of reach.  Dr. Rosales joked that at this point COP15 may result in “non-binding thoughts, on paper”.  Give me a break.

Overall, the atmosphere inside the Bella Center has been remarkably enthusiastic and hopeful.  A sense of urgency is in the air, and it’s great to see so many passionate people in one room.  On the global level and behind closed doors, though, that urgency seems to be missing.  As a result, it’s not hard to feel hopeless about this process from time to time.  The science couldn’t be clearer, the stakes couldn’t be higher, a crisis is imminent, and we still can’t act.  This is THE global test, and we are failing miserably.

Though political momentum is conspicuously absent, the momentum from an unprecedented number of supporters may prove to be the turning point.  We hope that this momentum will carry over into the U.S Congress and Mexico City (the site of COP16).  For now, we hope that the sluggish progress of the last week and a half is not indicative of how this conference will end.  We hope that the countries of the world will come together, all making sacrifices and all recognizing the threat of inaction, and take bold steps toward building a sustainable future.  This is one of the biggest tests international cooperation will ever face.  Failure is not an option, yet one might think that many nations are considering it.



2 Responses to “The Finals Week to End Them All”

  1. Jacob said

    Hey Folks,
    I’m so glad to hear we’ve got a solid contigent in Copenhagen! Please please please make your voices heard in the name of climate justice. You are representing those citizens of the University, the nation, and the globe who are not fortunate enough to deliver such an urgent message in person. I’d love to hear more when you all get back to the US.


  2. Louise said

    Just found your blog and I’m glad to see your thoughts on the situation-as always I’m proud of our SLU representation. I’ve been talking with many folks about what’s happening (amazing how many people don’t even know what COP15 means-the news is too busy reporting how the economy has slowed holiday shopping to cover such a ‘less interesting issue’).

    I can only imagine that as other friends of mine in Copenhagen there are moments when you are embarrassed to be an American. I was imagining this might be how I’d feel if I was with you. Then I realized one thing amazing about being who we are-we live in a place where we have the political freedom and economic opportunity to make alternative choices that will reduce our impact. Yes it is disastrous if our national political will is too weak to act ethically, however there is nothing stopping US from making our lives and our communities the best they can be (not all the countries represented have this ability). Don’t miss the hope that grassroots activism has been our saving grace before and perhaps it will be once again. If top-down action fails, we can all work from the bottom-up! I find it harder and harder to believe that COMMUNITY is not intimately linked to climate change solutions. While it is true that we don’t have the time to work neighbor by neighbor for change it’s seeming that is the only chance we have left. When you go visiting this season don’t ask the normal questions about the holidays, ask the ones that matter, that’s where we’ll find our hope for the new year and the way to bring peace and joy to all!

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