The stakes are high at the 15th UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and environmental activists from across the world are determined to keep up the pressure on world leaders to reach a deal.
Negotiators from 192 countries are joining tens of thousands of participants, observers and journalists at Copenhagen’s Bella Center for the next 12 days, where they hope to reach an agreement to safeguard the future of the planet.
The historic conference opened on Monday morning with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen declaring that summit participants had to try to “deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future."
Reporting from the Bella Center, FRANCE 24’s Eve Irvine said the city was ablaze with posters, art exhibitions and displays calling for action on global warming. “As soon as you arrive at the airport, you are made very quickly aware that there’s a momentous, perhaps destiny-defining event taking place,” said Irvine.
“Buildings here are covered with messages of urgency saying the time is now to bend the trend. There are art exhibitions at street corners with photos showing both the beauty of the planet and the vulnerability of the planet,” said Irvine.
Dressed in the colourful traditional robes of Peru’s indigenous Indian communities, Irma Luz Poma-Cochas said she refused to join the ranks of the doubters at the 15th UN Climate Change Conference.
"I've come here with lots of positive energy because I'm hopeful they will listen to us,” said Poma-Cochas. “I'm happy because I'm going to show them how much we love Mother Earth.”
But summit participant Megan Constance was being realistic.
"We don't think we're going to reach a treaty at this particular conference,” said Constance. “But I hope we can get a basis for what we want in the future."
Summits, counter-summits and snaking lines
Climate change refugees, indigenous peoples and representatives from developing nations are all hoping to make their voices heard by the world's leaders.
At the cordoned-off Bella Center, participants were lining up outside the venue in the bitter cold, hoping to snag passes.
On the other side of the city, protesters were getting set for counter-summits.
Mohamed Fouad Berguigui, a Moroccan activist, said there were challenges to be met after the summit.
"This could end in a ratified treaty or just a simple declaration. In any case, we're trying to get people involved, people who will then go back to their countries and get more people involved,” said Berguigui. “That way, they'll make their politicians' jobs harder."
Phil Aroneanu, a youth coordinator from 350.org, a US-based international campaign focused on the climate crisis, maintained that the next 12 days could be momentous for the planet. But pressure, he maintained, had to put on participants.
"We expect our leaders to take action on climate change here in Copenhagen, and to make it a strong deal that's fair, that's ambitious and that's binding," he said.
Aroneanu belongs to the legions of youth across the world who are keenly aware of what’s at stake at the Copenhagen summit. And they're keeping up hope that the world's leaders will find a reasonable solution before the summit ends in two weeks.
Date created : 2009-12-07