Authors: Megan Emiko Scott
Here in Copenhagen, the mood on the ground is mixed with excitement and frustration.
As the clock ticks and the U.N. Climate Conference heads toward an unknown conclusion this Friday, official negotiations inside the Bella Center are becoming less accessible and transparent by the day.
The U.N. originally accredited over 30,000 non-governmental observers but is now beginning to crack down on the number of people admitted into the building. In part, this is due to preparations for the arrival of over 100 Heads of State from around the world beginning tomorrow. An estimated 15,000 representatives—many from non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—will lose access to the Bella Center over the next few days and are scrambling to re-strategize and find a new home base.
A number of protests and actions are planned for tomorrow in response.
Inside the negotiations, tensions between rich and poor countries remain high over two key issues: pollution reduction targets and financing for developing countries to adapt to or mitigate climate change. Brazil, South Africa, India, and China announced today that, as a group, they will voluntarily reduce global warming emissions 2.1 gigatons by 2020. However, they refuse to be bound by an international agreement, which is a serious problem for the U.S. They also insist that industrialized countries ramp up emissions targets and sign an agreement to preserve the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
In a speech today to U.N. delegates, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if significant progress is not made on key issues over the next two days, it is unlikely that Heads of State will be able to negotiate a deal during the last two days of the conference. He warned U.N. delegates, “the eyes of the world are on you.”