From the TUC

Copenhagen Diary #12: Send in the clowns!

17 Dec 2009, by in Environment

Front page of today’s Financial Times shows the police holding back protesters dressed as clowns outside the conference centre. But the clowns can be happy – it feels as if they are running the show.

The crass handling of the Observer community. Effectively shutting us out physically and, it feels, politically. Yesterday, we couldn’t even get access to meet our own DECC Minister, despite walking miles in the bitter cold (no metro, there’s an NGO demo). Midnight, we learn that the ITUC has a nine-badge allocation for today and tomorrow. Back to the centre by 8 – it’s even colder after heavy snow. Made to queue again, in the open. But the phone rings and we are on to meet the UK at 1pm today!

That there is much of the highest quality in the draft UN text is undeniable. The human rights language opens up whole new challenges for unions globally if adopted. Human rights and labour rights issues were the focus of our workshop yesterday. Speakers associated climate change directly with, for example, water shortages and flood impacts, and with climate change response measures (biofuel projects for the North displacing agricultural land in developing countries).

The preamble setting out the UN’s Shared Vision talks of the Conference,

Noting resolution 10/4 of the UN Human Rights Council on human rights and climate change, which recognizes that human being are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development, and the importance of respecting Mother Earth, its ecosystems and all its natural beings…

Mindful of the adverse effects of climate change have a range of direct and indirect implications for the full employment of human rights, including living well, and that the effects of climate change will be felt most acutely by those parts of the population that are already vulnerable owing to youth, gender, age or disability….”

As well as our text …

Further recognizing that a broad range of stakeholders need to be engaged on global, regional, national and local levels, be they government, private business or civil society ….

Realising that addressing climate change requires a paradigm shift towards building a low emissions society ….while ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs…”

Hilary Clinton is in town. It’s said she won’t leave without a deal. But what deal? These options still on the table are:

  • Global temperatures increases ought not to exceed [2°C][1.5°C][1°C].
  • Collectively reduce global emissions by [50%][85%][95%] from 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Peak global emissions by 2015.
  • Developed countries reduce, individually or jointly, legally binding cuts in CO2 by [at least 25-40%] [in the order of 30%] [40%] [45%] from [1990][2005] levels by [2017][2020].

Small wonder the clowns want to get in to sort this out.

One Response to Copenhagen Diary #12: Send in the clowns!

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