Will Steger Foundation Expedition Copenhagen 2009

The Expedition Copenhagen team consists of Midwest youth who will travel to the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 5-19, 2009. The expedition will be led in part by internationally renowned polar explorer Will Steger, and designed in collaboration with youth climate partners across the region.

Last Day at the Bella Center

Posted On Wednesday, December 16, 2009 by Danielle |

What a strange and remarkable day. I'm sure most readers are aware that there were many protests outside of the Bella Center today in which over 200 people were arrested by the Danish Police. The protest organized by Climate Justice Action called "Reclaim Power" was in response to this weeks restrictions of negotiation access for civil society and it's purpose was to put the people's voice back into the climate talks. This week civil society has has access to the Bella Center extremely restricted and today marked the last day in which there was a significant number of NGOs allowed in. Tomorrow there will be about 1,000 NGO representatives and only 90 on Friday which is a sharp decrease from the 35,000 registered individuals. Only 8 Expedition Copenhagen members made it into the negotiations today, including myself. We had planned a time to switch over the required secondary badges to other delegates but the UN Secretariat decided not to let anymore NGO constituencies into the Bella Center after the outside protests. Despite the efforts of the confrontational non-violent protesters outside there was little knowledge of what was going on in the Bella Center. This huge building has acted as a bubble these past two weeks secluding individuals from the outside world. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that not everyone is completely absorbed in the climate negotiations like we have been. People aware of the protests happening outside were most likely connected to twitter, were youth or activists, got stuck in line to get into the center because of the actions or all of the above. It was surreal to know that there were people protesting outside advocating for the voice of the people while I was walking around the center with tons of "suits" (very different from where there were lots of youth in the space) and press whom are so removed civil society that seeks to hold them accountable. Sarah and I spent the day in the Bella Center absorbing as much as we could on our last day. We attended a Blue Green Alliance press conference, and I even asked a question! We also made it into a plenary session where the status of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) was being discussed. We learned more about the status of the KP text, which was not very good. Most G77 countries were calling for one more day to work on the text because the technical aspects of the language had not been completely negotiated. After so much hard work it is important that the text is polished and complete, based on sound science and supports developing nations. We had some difficulties getting out of the plenary session today because there were so many people trying to get in and out at the same time. There were also many upset government delegations because their access was also restricted to only 4 negotiators each and many were stuck outside waiting to get in because of the protests. I put together a video explaining some of our morning excursions. We also had a great chance to see U.S. Senator John Kerry speak (video). U.S. Youth delegates formed a welcoming party for Kerry and handed him a giant postcard from delegates thanking him for his leadership in the states on climate and energy legislation. Kerry's speech was political, yet very uplifting. He is a man who is truly dedicated to this solving this issue and making the U.S. a leader again in the international community. I left the Bella Center in a strange state. I was sad that it was my last time in this huge space where I had so many great experiences and opportunities. But honestly, too much time has been spent in that bubble. After we left we joined the rest of our delegation for a Midwest presentation at Klimaforum, a peoples conference parallel to COP15. Here my spirit was uplifted because these are the people affected by climate change seeking community based solutions to this issue. We will most likely come out of these neogtiations with a political treaty, not a legally binding agreement. But no matter what happens, our work does not/would not have ended in Copenhagen. The people will continue to lead this transition into a clean energy economy and a just and sustainable society. P.S. It snowed tonight in Copenhagen and the city looked BEA-U-TIFUL!
0 Response to 'Last Day at the Bella Center'

Post a Comment