Copenhagen: Protesters Put The Heat On World Leaders
Today, Danish police arrested hundreds of demonstrators in Copenhagen. The protesters are demanding “climate justice” and mainly belong to Non Governmental Organizations (NGO). The arrests took place near the Bella conference center, where the summit is taking place, the protesters claim that the negotiations are dominated by business interests and are unfair.
The pressure is building outside the conference center as thousands of NGO members are unable to enter. Inside the center, a small group of NGOs held a sit in to demand greater access to the talks. Journalists were prevented from speaking to the protesters by UN security officers while demonstrators said that they were denied freedom of speech.
Meanwhile, as Friday’s deadline approaches and pressure builds, both inside and outside the conference center, for establishing binding commitments, the only thing clear at the talks proper is division.
Divisions between those who want binding commitments and targets, and mechanisms to enforce them, and those who don’t; divisions between the poor countries who want more money to be able to adapt and cope and the rich countries who say they don’t have more money to give; divisions between those who want to cap carbon emissions today, and those who think it is reasonable to wait until tomorrow.
Some world leaders such as Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his passionate call for all countries to put common interest over domestic concerns as the Friday deadline looms.
World leaders are not leading on any real climate change deal, as matter of fact most leaders in rich developed countries are dragging their feet on actions that are desperately needed, and it is for the sake of very short term political and economical considerations. Americans should not expect the Obama administration and the US Congress to play the decisive role that they should have played in regard to climate change. After all, if the Obama administration caved in to the insurance and the pharmaceutical industries on health care they are even more likely to cave in to the giant lobbying power of the coal and oil companies. If world leaders fail to unite and act, people worldwide should do so however they can. If you don’t want “hopenhagen” to turn into “NOpenhagen”, please join the growing international grassroots movement in the fight for climate justice. The leading organizations are Greenpeace, Oxfam, 350.org and Hopenhagen.