Report from Copenhagen: First Day of Negotiations

Report from Copenhagen: First Day of Negotiations

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By Elizabeth Bast (cross-posted from Open Left)

Monday marked the first full day of climate negotiations in Copenhagen. In spite of pleasant words at the opening sessions, deadlock continues around the key issues of emissions reductions and money on the table for developing countries.

Wealthy, industrialized countries have thus far refused to agree to aggressive emissions reductions. And they are making underwhelming offers for funds to support developing countries as they deal with climate impacts and transition to clean energy. 

Unfortunately, rumors are that Denmark, as host and “president” of the conference, has worked with the United States and some European Union countries to draft secret text for an agreement. The text purportedly would put in place a weak deal that plays into the U.S. strategy of encouraging countries to choose their own emissions reductions and removes key legal compliance provisions currently in the Kyoto Protocol agreement.

A number of groups signed a letter expressing concern over the actions of the Danish presidency and calling for a fair process.


Friends of the Earth is working inside and outside the Bella Center where the talks are taking place (see the guided video tour of the center embedded in this post) to make sure our voices are heard and the voices of developing countries are amplified.

We’ve been meeting with individual delegates, and inside the plenary hall on Monday, Friends of the Earth El Salvador’s Ricardo Navarro delivered an “intervention” — a brief formal speech from a non-governmental organization — highlighting our collective concerns about the direction of the negotiations.

For an example of the type of outside activity we’re engaging in, check out this melting mermaid produced by Friends of the Earth Germany near the entrance of the Bella Centercalling for climate justice in Copenhagen.  (The mermaid is an iconic figure in Denmark due to a prominent statue in Copenhagen depicting the main character from Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”)

You can read more from Friends of the Earth U.S.’s delegation at and via the Friends of the Earth International blog