Monday, December 14, 2009

Things heating up!

After a deadlock that looked insurmantable, Africa just walked out of the negotiations. This leads to 'chaos' - and not much else. Inside the Bella Center, I can't tell that the current chaos is more serious than the previous chaos, but others with greater knowledge than I am say its serious.

While much of the mainstream media suggests that this is 'unfortunate', I am glad to see something like this happening, at least for the moment.

This comes out of what is being called the 'Tuvalu movement', where Tuvalu (small island country about to disappear) put forward a proposal a few days ago that effectively split the G77 - leaving LDCs and small island states on one side and China/India on the other. This is the first time that's happened for a long time.

Historically, Africa has rarely if ever formed their own bloc - and never walked out. I see this as a sign of strength, and it forces the developed world to pay significantly more attention to their demands. Many LDCs have been pretty unhappy for the past week or so.

Outside, the lines to enter the Bella Center are wrapping around the building. It is cold, windy, and may well start snowing. Not everyone out there is dressed warmly enough. They have accredited 40,000 people, but are only letting in about 15,000. Result: NGOs are getting cut off from coming in (trying to cap at 20% for each organization, but I'm not sure if this is going to happen).

Surrounding us, there are more than 20,000 NGOs and social movements. If this power was heralded and gathered together, I'm sure that something could happen. Even if it isn't, something can happen - if nothing else, that's a lot of people rubbing shoulders who might not have otherwise met.

Right now, I'm sitting in between two 'random' people of faith - a young woman from the National Council of Churches and the President from World Vision Australia, writing a blog for Sojourners about the importance of using Copenhagen to 'repent' from our carbon-sins and walking as a global community in a new way. He reminds me of the power of those bells ringing 350 times around the world, prayers singing throughout the country side, lifting the energy up and around the world. Together, we shared our mutual joy at yesterday's Ecumenical service, and their frustration of the platitudes offered up at the Ecumenical workshop this morning.

Around me, young people who don't yet know enough to wear suits (or are choosing not to) mingle with African delegates dressed to the teeth. Everyone drinks coffee and tea, and many haven't slept for days. There is a sense of movement and excitement - and that even as the negotiations are struggling, the plans and networks for renewable energy (among other 'actionable' plans) are mounting. I don't doubt that much shall come out of this conference- but it might not be a satisfactory agreement - or any agreement at all.