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There are a series of high-level meetings taking place this Friday with 115 heads of state, and I guess they don’t want us riffraff getting in their way. So, the UN has set up a system.

  • 7000 NGOs are allowed in tomorrow. This is 7000 out of the 35 000 who have applied for accreditation.
  • 1000 are allowed in on Thursday.
  • 90 are allowed in on Friday during the head-of-state meetings.

I wholeheartedly disapprove! This is contrary to the principles of the UN and the UNFCCC as a transparent forum for staging events, networking, expressing grievances, and trying to urge our leaders to take civil society into account as they make decisions.

A system of double badges will be put into place in addition to the usual badge check and security line. The secondary badges will be distributed to 33% of the NGO delegation in question. The other 2/3 just do without. What this means for the youth constituency, and SustainUS specifically, is that (in addition to destroying our sole line of wireless communication) we each receive a number each day, which we must strategically divide among our extended delegation of 99. This means we go in pre-scheduled shifts, and youth must shift our headquarters to outside the Bella Center. The worst part is that they didn’t even give SustainUS 33%–they gave us 24 badges.

The youth movement has been working diligently throughout the last several years to gain recognition as a serious stakeholder in this process. It has all been eradicated with the stroke of a pen. We are most displeased. This is exactly the sort of thing the UN needs not to be doing at this point.

No surprise, but–when you consider that the youth have been called the moral voice of the UN, I guess this shows what role morality plays in the real world.

In other news, someone died in our hostel this morning.

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Today’s cool story is that I attended a lecture featuring Bill McKibben and Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives. Bill McKibben is an environmentalist who has dedicated his life to preventing the worst effects of climate change, and was responsible for the global 350 Day of Action this October. President Nasheed was an activist before he became the Maldives’ first democratically-elected president. He remains the sole voice that has had the courage to stand up to the United Nations and call the world out on its inactions; he has also made the Maldives the poster child of climate change. Awesome to see these two.Here are the pictures:

What sucks about this story, though, is that I had to leave the Bella Center around 3:00 to get there at 4:00; they had shut down the Center at that point, so that if you left, you couldn’t get back in. Once I was out, I was out for good, and so after the event was over at 6, I had no choice but to go back to the hostel. It took me a while to find my way back to the train station, where I discovered that the last train had left at 6:56, and it was now 6:57…that’s like a sick joke!

 

What did I do on my day off?  Absolutely nothing!!  I hung out at the hostel and tried to will my head cold to go away.  I did manage to think of a way to reframe climate change skepticism though–in a way that hits the American psyche very hard.

Are you tired of being accused of buying into some conspiracy by people who hold science in contempt and attack the reputations of top-of-the-line experts who have dedicated their lives to scientific inquiry (not money or politics)? Tired of being called a namby-pamby liberal for seeing the truth quite clearly?  May I recommend you present your opponents with the following points:

  • You don’t believe in climate change? Didn’t you know climate change skepticism is a worldwide hoax perpetrated by Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is an oil exporter; it possesses an entire quarter of the world’s oil reserves. They know that fossil fuels, LIKE THEIR OIL, pollute, and that that carbon pollution will in fact trap heat within our atmosphere. But they depend on oil to fund their obscene existence, and so are resisting the notion of climate change with all their might. This includes obstructing the US’s progress at overcoming our fossil fuel dependency, plying Congress with funds through the oil lobby, and spreading lies to the American public so that law-abiding citizens begin to question the findings of hard-working American scientists.
  • Why would they do this? I hope the answer is obvious to you. Oil funds Saudi Arabia’s existence, and a large part of their oil wealth goes towards funding terrorism. These people want to destroy the West and the American way of life! It is to their benefit that we continue to pay their para-military budget with our oil consumption, and that we weaken our infrastructure through the havoc their substances are wreaking on the planet. It’s just a plot to ensure that the Saudis can implement their Wahhabi-style rule on our Christian country.
  • Don’t believe me? Read any book about ibn Saud’s conquest of Arabia. He did his work by preempting local rivals, manipulating the policies of larger countries (such as Imperial Britain and France), and of course disrupting local ways of life. He would impose his religion on conquered territories and use the fanaticism of his new converts to attack new territories. The death toll didn’t matter–such zealots were happy to die for their new religion. Those who did not suicidally destroy the enemy were forced to labor in agriculture. This is diametrically opposed to the traditional nomadic way of life, and his new subjects had no idea how to resist subjugation with their environment changed from desert to agriculture.  See any parallels to the situation today?
  • This is why you don’t find a lot of other countries that disbelieve climate change–terrorists aren’t out to destroy THEM. We’re their target, and their target audience for their lies, rumors, and myths. Of course it seems like the scientists are lying–Saudi Arabia is the most anti-modern country on the planet; of course they would seek to discredit science, especially when it interferes with their sinister agenda.
  • Do you know who hacked into the scientists’ emails and disseminated the information on the web, and why? Well, I don’t know either, but you can bet they were on the Saudi payroll–and they did it to cover their own involvement in the conspiracy. The more we shout at the scientists, the more we ignore Saudi Arabia’s underhanded conspiracy to dupe us all and take control of us.
  • Don’t believe in climate change? That’s what Saudi Arabia wants you to think! You are buying into a terrorist lie! WAKE UP AMERICA! Your country needs you, and the world need you to lead!

That’s how we need to reframe this discussion.  Sure the conspiracy is a lie, but climate change deniers believe lies anyway.  Let’s at least call a spade a spade: skepticism is funded by the oil industry, and we need people to remember that Saudi Arabia is part of that industry.

*Apologies to my Saudi Arabian friends.

Yesterday was the Dec 12 Day of Solidarity, in which citizens in over 3000 cities worldwide held candlelight vigils supporting action in Copenhagen.  I, too, took part in the actions and marched 6 km from Parliament Square to the Bella Center.  

The PowerShift Story

I’ve been in plenty of marches and protests before.  They generally seem to be in the winter under adverse conditions.  There was that one time when I protested the Iraq war, and it was so cold that I got hypothermia.  Then there was the demonstration I took part in for PowerShift.  It was about the coldest day in the history of Washington DC, and there had been a terrible blizzard the night before.  I hadn’t packed any warm clothes.  I never seem to protest on nice warm days, and yesterday was no exception.  It was cold, but at least the sky was clear.  This was the first time I have ever participated in an international march, and there were apparently 100 000 of us. 

As we walked, the Danish people turned out on the streets and waved to us from apartment buildings lining the streets.  Several of our number got recorded on BBC news (FUN!!  I never seem to get any press hits), and it culminated in a candelight vigil with candles and actual torches outside the Bella Center.  I was very cold and tired at that point, and all alone, so I headed over to the Bella Center to check my email. 

When I got into the Bella Center, a lot of people were asking me whether I got arrested, or if it had been really crazy.  No, it was not; although, apparently a few bozos among us started throwing cobbles at police.  They were rightly arrested, but so were 900 other peaceful demonstrators.  I cannot independently verify this at this time, but that’s pretty lame of the police it’s true. 

No sooner had I got to the Bella Center, when someone from the Will Steger delegation grabbed me and asked me to telecast in to a group in Lansing, Michigan with some other midwestern delegates to describe the Copenhagen experience.  I’m not sure how they knew I was from the midwest, but ok.  I told them about the AOSIS show of support I went to (in an earlier entry). 

After that, I went to the infamous NGO party.  Now, I am of the mind that when people say “party”, it ought to mean that I put on a frilly pink party dress, Mom serves cake, ice cream, and fruit punch, we play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and ride little ponies.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green.  The NGO party was not that way. 

First, you had to stand outside for hours just to hang up your coat, there was nowhere you could go just to chill out and talk to people, and I had a real issue with a certain Nigerian official.  I don’t understand people sometimes, I really don’t.  Finally, at 2 am, I just got really sick of it and left.  And THAT was the legendary NGO party. 

I don’t know what’s happening next week.  They’ve restricted our delegation by 75% due to the overflow of people trying to attend COP15.  I may or may not be going back to the Bella Center.  Till we get that worked out, I’m heading into the city to get some overpriced food.

Youth have a special place at the UN COP talks.  We have had a presence since the UNFCCC was developed in Rio in 1992, but the International Youth movement has only taken off since the Bali Talks in 2007 (COP13).  In this short amount of time, we have gained recognition as a stakeholder in the process, and have gained constituency status. (It means we are accredited NGO observers and are assigned UN photo IDs like this one: 

Most hilarious accreditation badge EVER.

 

 We are called YOUNGOs (for YOUth NGOs).  There are over 1000 of us in attendance this December, and we have a special role within the COP.  Yvo de Boer, the Secretariat, has called us the moral voice of the UN.  Our presence there reminds our lawmakers of the future that is at stake.  

As such, we try to be as visible as possible.  We hold small demonstrations within the walls of the Bella Center (with the Secretariat’s approval).  We bring energy and color to the conference, and apparently a lot of people really love us for it. 

Here are some of the things we do: 

Today, Indigenous people, the Canadian youth, and American youth collaborated to pull of a protest of Tar Sands.  We did this in a hallway.  It was similar to the earlier event with AOSIS. 

Organic Apple cart guy

 

Here are some other pictures: 

This guy literally rides around the Bella Center selling apples for a dollar or so.  Even I can afford that!  Although now that I think about that, that’s an obscene amount for just one apple… 

This guy was dressed up as a polar bear and getting his photo taken.  Polar bears are to the natural world what the Maldives are to nations: a poster child for the effects of Global Climate Change.  Both are in danger. 

And this is the Fossil of the Day award, put on by Climate Action Network (CAN).  Every day CAN finds 3 countries who have done something to obstruct the negotiations process and assigns them first, second, and third prize.  So far this year, Canada is winning.  And not only is this fun and creative, but it also is a way of informing people of the outcomes and drawbacks of the day’s negotiations. 

 

I just got back from a show of support for AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States.  We, the Youth, stand with them on most issues regarding climate change–their survival as low-lying islands is at stake, and so is ours.  Survival is not negotiable. 

We stood there for about an hour holding placards saying “Survival is Not Negotiable”, “We Stand With AOSIS”, and “350” and surrounded their ambassadors as they gave a media appearance.  I threw out my left shoulder doing this.

Also, if you would like to stand up for me and my co-delegates, please click here.  You will find CO2sequence’s message to CEOs saying that I (and the people I came to Copenhagen with) are not Hitler Youth.  We can really use your support on this issue.

The flu (H1N1?) has hit our delegation and is wreaking havoc on our hostel today.  I’m already sick with a cold (I hope that’s what it is, and that it’s not going to develop into something worse), and we still have another 10 days to get through.  This might very easily suck, particularly if one of us dies.  The city of Cincinnati would not vaccinate me before I left and the nurse insisted that “you have the same chance as anyone else” of catching H1N1–more lies spawned from the failure that we call the American health care system.

Check back on my previous entries.  I’m adding photos to them.

Just as I was not privileged to be called a “Hitler Youth” by Lord Monckton last night, so was I not able to stand out in sub-freezing temperatures this morning in my bathing suit telling our policymakers not to Leave Us Out in the Cold.

Maybe you’d like to read about those of us who did.  It was published in the Guardian (!).

  • Article in the Guardian
  • The Copenhagen Insider’s take on it.  This is a newspaper dedicated to COP15.
  • We put it on our YouTube channel:

We rock!!  Ok, well these guys rock, I don’t rock–I sit inside the warm Bella Center all day and eat food.

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