Monday, 21 September 2009

Climate Wake Up Call

There is growing concern, and increasingly frequently reporting, that rolling global climate negotiations appear to be stalling in the run-up to talks in Copenhagen in December. On the eve of the latest climate negotiation session at the UN, protestors from a coalition of groups around the world have taken part in a "Climate Wake-Up Call" to highlight the need to kick-start negotiations.
At 12:18pm, representing the 18th day of the 12th month, the date on which negotiations in Copenhagen will have to be completed, phone alarms starting ringing around Parliament Square in London. As the rings grew louder, hundreds of protestors converged on the grass in the middle of the square and started shouting, ringing bike bells and joining in a chorus of "tick tick tick...." As the alarms stopped ringing, people started calling Ed Milliband and Gordon Brown in an effort to swamp the DECC and Number 10 phone systems with "Wake-Up" calls.

Anna Roma, a freelance cabinet maker from London, managed to get through to Ed Milliband's assistant and was told that questions had to be submitted by email. Another protestor, Iris Andrews, managed to get through to Gordon Brown himself. The conversation lasted almost 5 minutes and Mr Brown gave her his assurance, as reported in today's press, that he would put pressure tomorrow on other world leaders to attend the Copenhagen talks personally. Mr Brown, under pressure from Ed Milliband, has recently announced that he will attend the Copenhagen talks in person stressing in today's Newsweek that "The negotiations are proceeding so slowly that a deal is in grave danger". In an apparent to the potential for creating green jobs as part of a green recovery, Mr Brown added "The UN talks are not just about safeguarding the environment, but also about stimulating economic demand and investment".

Tomorrow's talks at the UN in New York are crucial in getting world leaders to focus on the task in hand. There is a real danger, as reflected by recent comments from the US negotiating team, that people stop regarding Copenhagen as a key deadline for talks. There is already talk by the US team of "negotiating beyond Copenhagen". Something that the "TckTckTck" campaign want to avoid. Paul Hilder of Avaaz, one of the coalition of groups involved in the Wake-Up Call said that the success of today's action "totally blew him away" and hoped that Gordon Brown's call to other world leaders to attend Copenhagen talks would prove fruitful. "It feels like a big step forward right now. What's more . . . this is just one of 2,000 flash mobs happening all around the world from Beijing to New York wher people are calling on their Governments to do this thing. I'm excited."

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