As I write to you, I sit in the Black Diamond library in Copenhagen which is being gently dusted with snowflakes. This image is in complete contradiction to the turbulance outside. The negotiations, the protests and the feelings of anger, confusion and doubt. The Australian Youth Delegation is getting through this with magnificant poise. Intense media work, freezing weather and intense police pressure has not divided our team and I am proud of this as an accomplishment.
Today, we have had only a small number of our delegation able to access the Bella Centre where the COP15 is meeting. We were given a small number of passes. This is just one of our limits to the negotiations. Our internet has gone down, our phones are running out of credit and the streets are freezing. We are using the time to contact media back home and strategise about our next action, which is likely to be a solidarity fast.
In this blog, I have mentioned Climate Justice Fast many times. Today, I met with Anna Keenan who is on her day forty-one of taking only water. Her bones are prominant and her body in a state close to collapse. However, her mood is high with anticipation for the coming days. Youth of the world will be fasting in solidarity with the message that the time is now for action. We cannot postpone this treaty any longer. I am calling on you in Australia to fast alongside us this Thursday.
Anna spoke alongside Naomi Klein this morning at a small gathering of youth this morning. It was very powerful in bonding us in a common purpose. This purpose is to hit home with the moral message to acting on climate change. Not acting now, globally, is not an option.
Today, there were people protesting near our hostel. Thosands walking along the canal calling for a fair treaty, surrounded by police. The police are not always so generous. Overnight, we have heard reports of many “pre-emptive arrests”, meaning people who havn’t done anything are charged and locked away. One of these people is an Australian woman who has been charged with three weeks with likely deportation. As far as I am aware, she had not actually engaged in any action and was coordinating the peaceful side of the protest that is expected tomorrow.
I do not want to see a violent protest in Copenhagen. I do not feel that this will change the treaty being agreed upon inside. However, as one experience protester told me today, “if the coordinators are locked away the protests are going to be chaos.” The message people are getting at the moment is that the negotiations are stalled because developed countries are not making significant commitments. Understandably, people here feel angry and disenfranchised. How this plays out is anyone’s guess.
Inside the negotiations there is much confusion. On a broad scale, I am expecting a sad outcome. This will be one where the one hundred and thirty heads of state who are coming agree upon a meaningless ‘political’ treaty that enforces nothing and postpones the important discussions but appears to be a step foward.
The time to put pressure on our Members of Parliament is now. We should also be writing letters of support to the island nations, such as Fiji and Vanuatu, who play an important role over the next days in calling for scientifically based treaty. Our neighbours in the Pacific will be hit first and hit hardest but climate change. Let us not forget them at their time of need.