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A bad deal on a bad night

Posted on December 19, 2009 by Molly Walsh

Its 2.30 in the mornign in Copenhagen in the Bella Centre. And I'm dejected. These crucial talks about how the planet is to tackle climate change have failed and failed miserablely. This morning we arrived in to news that there was the text of a draft politicial accord. All along this was not what we wanted.
The first low point of the day came when Obama addressed the Plenary. His speech was weak and set the tone for a da filled with dissapointments. I was an obama fan back in the heady days of his election campaign, but now he has failed to display the kind of inspirational policies that would match his inspirational campaign rhetoric.

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Open the door, De Boer!

Posted on December 17, 2009 by Molly Walsh

foei locked outWhat happened yesterday was a nail in the coffin for any belief I might ever have had left that the UNFCCC is an open democratic and transparent process.We heard a few days ago that every NGO group would only be allowed 20% of their registered people inside the Bella Centre. This was apparently because of capacity. WE were not pleased about this. If a process is to be open and transparent ngos must be able attend and see what is going on. Anyway we did what we were told and just like all the other observer organisations at the COP we picked some of our people to go in. These people were going to be given a white card that would now be needed along with our UN photo id that everyone has around their neck. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one for these people. This system of white cards and primary passes worked OK for Tuesday. Things were a bit quieter but we did manage to do a good flash mob action wearing blue ponchos and chanting "we stand with Africa, Kyoto targets now".Minister Eamon Ryan even joined in a bit, without really knowing what he was being dragged into!

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COP15 Blog by Ali

Posted on December 17, 2009 by Young Friends of the Earth

Time for protest alone is over'This is my first trip with young friends of the earth and one of the first actions I've taken part in. There doesn't seem to be any way to ease into this gently. The time to act, as they say on the streets, is now!

The word in the Bella Centre in the halls where decisions are made behind partly close
doors, seems a little different. Their time or so it seems, is maybe to act
next year, or maybe they don't need to act at all, perhaps those that pollute
can buy their way through this climate crisis. There is so much money to be
made after all and why leave the oil in the soil when you can pay someone to
offset for you?

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Blog by Leah

Posted on December 17, 2009 by Young Friends of the Earth

With all the money being thrown around here you would think they could do something about the bloody heating. Maybe its a subconscious corporate lobbying tactic - keep the room temperature in the COP 15 UN Conference centre low, and all those pesky environmental activists wont be so adamant about preventing global warming after all! If the FoEI delegation need something to get hot headed about, however, they need not look any farther than yesterdays announcement by a number of developed countries that have made proposals to merge the two tracks of negotiations going on, the Kyoto Protocol track and the Working Group on Long term Cooperative Action - there is a fear that this will mean a suspension of the only legally binding agreement on a reduction in carbon emissions for developed countries, while merging the two tracks may mean reducing the involvement of developing countries, for whom climate change will have the most devastating effects.

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The Machine

Posted on December 16, 2009 by Jerrieann Sullivan

WEDNESDAY 16TH - The Machine

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The Lows and Highs of a Day at COP15

Posted on December 16, 2009 by John Sweeney

It started as another day of inching along with the crowd seeking to register from around 9 a.m.. This time a further obstacle was presented to NGOs - a magic white pass issued on a quota basis which effectively eliminated entry for thousands of NGO observers who had surmounted the accreditation process successfully. In a scene which made us feel for an instant just a little like they must have felt at Auschwitz or Srebenica, NGOs were herded into a separate queue from the press, media and other observers. Those of us who had braved the 8 hours the previous day knew another similar day was ahead with no guarantee of success at the end. As with all queues, there are times you get your hopes up, only to be dashed. In this case around the 4-hour mark the VIPs began to arrive and the triage system was operationalised. NGOs were back at the bottom of the pile and the queue froze. It was turning into another eight hour queue day and for a time the heavy snowfall didn't help our spirits. The historic achievement of getting past the front gate, with the great co-operation of the Friends of the Earth's Molly Walsh was dashed as it became clear that there was a major logistics problem inside the building. Four hours later the cause of all the problems was apparent. 10-15 administrators were working flat out to register people, each one taking 5-10 minutes in total, or around 100 per hour passing through the system. Trouble was, around 45,000 people had apparently indicated they were coming to the conference and the bulk of these had obviously materialised for the second week. The system was now obviously hopelessly inadequate for the several thousand souls out in the snow. The United Nations got everything right except this crucial detail. 10 times as many administrators were needed at the registration desk and fewer security scanners. There are several good courses in Event Management at Irish universities which I could recommend!

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Left in the Cold

Posted on December 15, 2009 by John Sweeney

It was 8 a.m. when I alighted from the train from the city centre to register for the conference as an NGO delegate for Friends of the Earth Ireland. In the sub zero temperatures the beginnings of a 500m queue of humanity could just be discerned stretching into the distance beyond the railway station. 3 hours later I had reached the railway station again, cold and weary, but still hopeful that the gates would at last open to the Bella Centre. The crowd around was generally patient and kept alert by the occasional noisy demonstration, extolling the virtues of a vegan lifestyle or denigrating the Australian government for their support of the world's largest coal export industry.

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EU its your move

Posted on December 15, 2009 by Jerrieann Sullivan

TUESDAY 15TH - E.U it's your move
Our group has been split up by the monster queues and restrictions on NGO observers set by the UNFCCC. Some of our newest arrivals will not get to enter the Bella Centre at all. Worse than that, some people from Friends of the Earth International were queuing for up to 11 hours yesterday, outside in freezing temperatures, with no bathrooms, no food and no information about whether they could enter that day. When a few of us went out to bring them coffee and a sandwich we found hundreds of accredited delegates queuing and chanting 'UN-SHAME ON YOU' and 'LET US IN - LET US IN'. They had taken A4s from bags and improvised placards which asked 'Is this what efficiency looks like?". With three of us inside and five of us outside at the Klimaforum I feel torn about where to be.

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Kevin's Blog

Posted on December 15, 2009 by Young Friends of the Earth

I got to say that being on a bus for 24 hours is quite an interesting experience. You almost forget what it is like to not be on a bus. Even so straight off the bus to Copenhagen things has been non-stop. I quickly realized that the scale of what is going on here is massive. The vast number of people who have flooded to the city during the conference is far beyond what I would have expected. And at first a lot of it was quite overwhelming. This was partially because my lack of knowledge about what was going on. I was quite new and needed to get a substantial update on what FoE had been doing so far. This probably could have taken up to a year if it wasn't for everyone's help to do it in just about one day.

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Copenhagen - a good place to bridge cultural divides

Posted on December 13, 2009 by John Sweeney

Copenhagen is certainly a suitable place to attempt to bridge the gap between two very different cultures regarding managing climate change. On an island where the Atlantic world meets central Europe and the progressive societies of Scandinavia, Copenhagen is where European meetings of minds have historically occurred. It is where hopefully the sensible reasoning of the inhabitants of this ancient place can be brought to bear on civilisation's greatest challenge to date.

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