So the countdown has ended. The Summit has finally started. An estimated 15,000 official delegates are in Copenhagen for what is being billed as a make or break Summit.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer (pictured), has just held a pre-conference press briefing where he stated: “Well the time is up. Over the next two weeks governments have to deliver a strong and long term response to the challenge of climate change.”
He continued. “In doing so, I see them delivery on three layers of action:
First of all, fast and effective implementation right away and without delay; on adaption on technology on capacity building in developing countries.
Secondly ambitious commitments to cut or limit emissions as well as start up financing for developing countries and a long-term funding commitment; 3rd a long-term shared vision on a low emissions future.”
Calling the Copenhagen talks a “turning point” in the seventeen year climate negotiations, de Boer said governments must deliver “an ambitious response to climate change over the next two weeks”.
Since the press conference he has appeared on CNN saying that the recent “Climate Gate” will not affect the UN process.
Even those used to some of the hyperbole of climate change summits will be surprised by the Guardian’s front page editorial this morning. The paper is printing the same editorial as 56 newspapers in 45 countries, which are taking the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. Let’s hope the politicians are listening to such a collective voice.
That editorial says: “Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.”
The editorial ends: “The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.”
In other newspapers editorial after editorial pleads for action on climate.
If you are in Copenhagen, and are looking for more action beyond the Bella Convention centre, get down to the Klimaforum where there will be hundreds of talks, exhibitions, films and theatre.
And don’t forget to vote in the Angry Mermaid Award – just one week of voting left.