Long hours anticipated next week
Long hours anticipated next week

There has been talk of a COP15.5, taking place next summer, in case no binding treaty is achieved by the end of next week at COP15 – no matter how long the hours the delegates work.

At one stage, about a month ago, I thought this might be a good thing. It seemed to me that not enough countries were moving fast enough in the right direction, so that if something were to be set in stone in Copenhagen, it was unlikely to be the right thing. Despite the urgent need for legislation to stop the rape of the planet, I thought it would be more damaging to enact a weak agreement than to enact nothing at all. I hoped that by the time COP15.5 rolled around, growing awareness and increasing public pressure might have persuaded the global leaders to commit to the kind of treaty that the world needs.

However, what I have seen and heard in Copenhagen has persuaded me otherwise. There is such a huge amount of energy and commitment here on the part of the non-governmental organizations and the heavy hitters of the environmental world that it has generated a formidable momentum. If no decision is reached, that momentum would dissipate, and it is hard to imagine that a similar head of steam could be recreated in 6 months.

There would almost inevitably be a feeling of disappointment and deflated hopes, and to recover from that and once again muster the forces within the space of half a year would be more than most human hearts could bear.

So is it now or never?

A ton of CO2 spotted as I was walking to TckTckTck's Fresh Air Center today
A ton of CO2 spotted as I was walking to TckTckTck's Fresh Air Center today

That sounds pretty drastic, but so is our situation. The rate at which we are losing acres of rainforest and diversity of species, the rate at which we are using up our reserves of oil, the rate at which our population and our demand for consumer goods is expanding – time IS running out. If the climate scientists are to be believed, certain timings have already run out, tipping points reached, boundaries crossed. We are now in the last gasp of existence, the dying days of a civilization, the end of an era. The best we can hope for now is damage limitation. Are we going to be utterly extinct, or only partially.

Sorry, but that’s the truth, and I can’t sugar-coat it.

That’s the bad news. Now for the good news – and it’s very good. Even in the last few days I have seen a growing momentum towards sealing a deal.

Todd Stern, the chief negotiator for the US, says that Washington is determined to get the ‘strongest possible agreement’ in Copenhagen.

Ed Miliband, leader of the UK delegation, said: ‘I will do my damnedest to get the best possible agreement I can at Copenhagen.’

A leading UK climate scientist says Capping temperatures is ‘achievable’.

Let’s keep on hoping, praying, and pushing. The negotiations, and the future of the world, hang in the balance. All it will take is for one influential leader to step forwards and take a courageous stance and the whole chemistry of COP15 could change for the best.

And finally, just in case that hasn’t cheered you up enough already, here is my fun little video (2:21 mins) of our BB2B walk. The comment has already been made (thanks, Anthony!) that it was rather fitting that the soundtrack should be by a band called Madness….!

2 Comments

  • “Are we going to be utterly extinct, or only partially?”

    Um. Uh, Roz. Was that a rhetorical question, or are you asking us to vote on this? 🙂

  • In a more serious vein, I watched an interesting DVD last night. “New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism”, is an 83-minute documentary that goes into the question of “What can one person do about the world’s problems?” In this case, it’s the story of Michael Arth, an artist/developer/urban planner, who has been working on his theory of New Pedestrianism by designing and building ecological and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and new towns. I strongly recommend this DVD for anyone who would like to live in a place that has fewer cars and more walkways and bike paths, and who also would like to live in a place where homes and offices and shopping and entertainment are also pleasantly placed within walking (or biking) distance of each other. The DVD is in some public libraries, and is available on Amazon for $23. Or, you can read more about it at the link below. The DVD itself is not geared toward climate change and related topics, but rather toward livability and sustainability. But it becomes obvious during the show that there is a huge connection between how we act and how we live, and the environment that we create around ourselves, both on the local and global level. The show is well worth seeing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_pedestrianism

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