Reflections on Day 1 of the UN Climate Conference

The queues for the Bella Centre started just after dawn. Yesterday the building was quiet and clean as a church. It’s lunchtime on the first day and already the place looks more like a students union. The Oxfam team is huddled near the entrance to the media centre –we’ve just had our first squabble over plugpoints.

The first ‘incident’ has just occurred – this time it was a group of kids doing a kooky and good tempered ‘climate dance’, but the tone of direct actions inside the Bella Centre is likely to sour pretty quickly. 

The word in the corridors is loopholes, and how to close them. More than 90 Heads of State are due to come, and there is enormous pressure on them to deliver a deal. So they’re scratching around for ways to look like they’re delivering when they’re really not.

The most dangerous loophole is that developing countries could be bought off with ‘fast track’ money for adaptation and mitigation – relatively small amounts, much of which is recycled from other pots. Oxfam has accused European politicians of ‘cannibalising’ existing aid budgets, and has named $200bn as the price of success in Copenhagen.

Today South Africa joined the call for an ambitious, long term financing package. In the same statement, South Africa announced significant emissions reductions, following similar announcements from China, India and Indonesia.  This further nails the myth that the developing countries are not prepared to join in a global agreement to reduce emissions in the future. Although the developing countries as a whole did little to cause climate change, they are stepping up to the challenges of the future. They were only a small part of the problem but they are prepared to be a major part of the solution.

Add your voice to the demand for a fair, ambitous and legally binding deal at Copenhagen.

Share this page: