The Icemen Cometh

“Just tell the truth and write how you feel.” – good advice to the first-time, and quite tentative, blogger – and advice I will heed.  

The truth is, I feel colder than I have ever felt in my life.

I have just stood outside in sub-zero temperatures for five hours getting Oxfam’s message out to the hordes heading for the UN Climate Talks (without gloves, for more efficient leafleting) and I cannot feel my fingers. Typing this is proving to be v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.

The roads outside the conference centre are lined with the usual suspects: polar bears, anarchists, drummers and giant wicker tree-huggers. But right outside the entrance to the meeting halls, drawing the biggest crowds, the more unusual sight of ten (though it felt like eleven) life-size figures made of solid ice.

Oxfam asked a team of Poland’s top ice-sculptors to create the statues, five men and five women, each containing a message for the delegates on their way to the building: Stop Harming, Start Helping.

The first week of negotiations were a damp squib. Rich countries, in particular the EU (more of which tomorrow), have contributed almost nothing so far. The perfect opportunity to retain some credibility starts on Thursday with the arrival of government ministers. Rich countries need to sign up to, amongst other things, sharp emissions reductions of between 25% and 40% by 2020, and commit to supporting developing countries’ attempts to adapt to the damage that climate change is already having to the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The EU need to reassert some leadership in order to salvage a result in Poznan before hope melts away.

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