COP15 Update: Limited Access, Tenuous Talks

Posted by Christine Dorsey, National Wildlife Federation Communications Director

While the world awaits the outcome of climate negotiations in Copenhagen, most of the global observers who registered to participate in COP15 have been shut out of the process. Despite issuing credentials to thousands of people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who have come from all over the world to participate in the talks, the UN Secretariat decided this week to severely limit access to the Bella Center, forcing most to stand out in the cold.

The Climate Action Network International has a film crew following daily developments and you can watch it each day on YouTube.

We at the National Wildlife Federation were not immune to the lack of access – some in our delegation spent more than 5 hours in line for registration, only to get turned away. This morning, Friends of the Earth and other groups were blocked completely from entering – their entire delegations were rejected.

Only a few NWFers were able to get inside today. Jeremy Symons led a discussion about the status of U.S. climate and clean energy legislation. Negotiations hinge in large part on what the United States ultimately decides to do to control its global warming pollution. Meanwhile, Eric Palola attended a speech by Sen. John Kerry, who assured those inside the Bella Center that the U.S. will pass comprehensive climate legislation. And Joe Mendelson worked the U.S. delegation, President Obama’s team of negotiators.

Outside the Bella Center, observers began protesting the unprecedented actions to block access to the talks. What began as a peaceful march to the entrance had moments of violence as police set up blockades.

The talks themselves are very tenuous at this point. Major disagreements remain between rich and poor nations regarding how to pay for what is sure to be an expensive climate tab.

As Jeremy described it for Politico, the U.S. negotiators in Copenhagen are suffering from ADD: Ambition Deficit Disorder. It seems there is a wide gulf between what we have heard from President Obama in terms of a fair and effective climate deal and the hard-lined negotiating stance from the U.S. negotiating team.

Stay tuned for more…

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Published: December 16, 2009