Slowly but surely the politicians are arriving in Copenhagen for the last few days of talks. As they sound the bell of urgency, the talks remained stalled.
Yesterday Yvo de Boer, the head of negotiations, admitted things are moving “too slowly”. That’s diplomatic speak for at the moment things are a complete disaster.
With more international government representatives arriving, fewer delegates from NGOs are being allowed entrance.
Even a back of the envelope calculation can tell you that something has to give – there are 45,000 people accredited to the conference, yet only 15,000 can fit inside the Bella centre.
So as the political dignitaries they are whisked into the Bella Centre more and more NGO’s are being locked outside, either being barred totally or told to queue for hours in the freezing cold. The access to the summit’s plenary room will be limited to 300 NGO observers tomorrow with only 90 on Friday, the crucial final day of the summit.
The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown warned the Summit “faced problems” and could end ‘with no deal’. Brown said the barriers to a deal were “huge” but “not insurmountable”.
A failure to reach an agreement could cause an unprecedented “economic catastrophe”, with the impact equivalent to “two world wars and the great depression”, Brown said.
Yesterday Britain’s Prince Charles warned delegates the “eyes of the world” were upon them and said they had the power to “write our future”. He said the planet had reached a “point of crisis” and urged leaders to “listen to the cries” of those already suffering from climate change.
He continued: “When it comes to the air we breathe and the water we drink, there are no national boundaries. We all depend on each other – and, crucially, on each other’s actions – for our weather, our food, our water and our energy. These are the ‘tectonic plates’ on which the peace and stability of the international community rest. The inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that a partial solution to climate change is no solution at all.”
Mr Brown and Prince Charles were yesterday by Arnold Schwarzenegger the Governor of California and Al Gore, the former US Senator, who all flew in to add impetus to the talks. Arnie called for a “planetary transformation” to save the world from climate change.
Conspicuous by his absence is President Obama – who will only attend the conference on the last day. And yesterday, Daryl Hannah, the actress and campaigner, launched an outspoken attack on Obama at the conference, saying he was protecting corporate interests.
“At the moment Obama is being a politician,” she said. “He needs to be a leader and step up to the plate and address what the public is demanding, which is a route to a future that doesn’t kill us. He was elected on a wave of hope for real change and this is his golden opportunity to show he actually means what he is saying.”
Obama may be buoyed by a new USA Today / Gallop poll that finds that a solid majority of Americans now support the idea of a global treaty that would require the United States to reduce significantly greenhouse gas emissions. Fifty five per cent of those surveyed endorse a “binding” agreement to limit greenhouse gases.
But as well as binding, the agreement has to be fair and ambitious – what NGO’s are calling a a Fair, Ambitious and Binding (FAB) deal.
And there’s three days left to get one.