Stop Climate Chaos is the name of a coalition of climate change organisations here in Ireland. Roughly twice a month I’d cycle for 30 minutes from my small country town to the bigger country town avoiding freight trucks, to get the train to dublin. There I’d cycle up to the offices of one of the constituent organisations where we meet to plan the next campaign to highlight the need for the Irish people to address climate change – generally in Concern’s offices these days.

The general malaise after Copenhagen was palpable in the first few meetings after Christmas. The group was generally taciturn, I was generally cranky myself (although that may have been more to do with the fact that I had decided to become vegetarian as my own small contribution to reducing my carbon emissions – I still miss sausages!), but soon the coordinators whipped us back into shape and reminded us to look toward what we can achieve right now… namely changing irish law!

You see the Irish government just before going to Copenhagen stated they would be putting a bill before parliament to regulate their greenhouse gas emissions – a climate law. And now the law has finally shuffled down to going before the TD’s (our abbreviation for our ministers) and it’s a golden opportunity to make a strong and fair law to make Ireland lead by example so that even if the world isn’t capable of pulling its socks up just yet, Ireland will be out in front leading the way – Sweet!

However, in order to get the strong law we need to make sure there’s a good few things – like no loopholes – the land use and forestry policy under the Kyoto Protocol – the LULUCF – was full of loopholes, and we don’t want the same to occur in our legislation here. So I’ve been cycling up to Stop Climate Chaos meetings these last few months through wind rain and angry truck drivers, to help arrange the next campaign. In the SCC’s first campaign after Copenhagen we are organising people across Ireland to write to their elected representatives and meet them up in Dublin to have a cup of tea and a chat about climate change (because in Ireland nothing gets done without tea) and making sure this climate law is strong and watertight!

So if you’re reading this, and are Irish, And want to get your voice heard…

…here’s the linky

So that Friday of Fridays I squeezed a lot more living into the one day than I usually do in a week. As a result I’m still trying to make sense of it all, but rather than let my thoughts slowly marinate I’ll throw down what I can onto the blog and direct you to a far more eloquent blogger who still has grip of articulation.

9 am outside the Bella Centre shaving my head in solidarity with those who will lose their lives in what we dubbed “Climate Shame”. The complete lack of justice to those least responsible and the way the voices of the poor in the world were completely closed out of the conference showed that needed to be a new start to the negotiations. To symbolise this over 20 people shaved their head to call on the government officials to feel shame in how they’ve proceeded and take a new look at how their system is run.
I held up a placard saying:

system change not climate change

10 am Back in the warehouse/art gallery Oksnehallen that has been converted to NGO use to write and blog about the event.

11 am Work on the closing speech to plenary from the International Youth Climate Movement

12 pm Work on press releasing the articles from youth inside the Bella Centre. Watching live proceeding from the Bella Centre. Very underwhelmed by Obama’s speech, so wishy-washy and no binding targets

1pm Attended a closing speech of Naomi Klein to the Klimaforum – the alternative “people’s summit”. Here she likened disagreement on tech transfer to the denial of ART medication to HIV/AIDS sufferers in Sub-saharan Africa
I really liked this analogy. Another term that was bandied around was “Benign Genocide” – harsh but fair summing up of how the Minority World is standing by and not doing enough about climate change to save those in the Majority World. One person asked would it be the same if Australia was sinking beneath sea-level rise?

4 pm Held a vigil for climate change – held torches that spelt out Climate Shame – must find the footage and put it up on the net.

5pm Watched the speech I helped write being read out by Juan Carlos a peruvian youth in very impassioned terms. Started feeling a huge level of frustration build in me that hadn’t been there before.

Said goodbye to a few Irish friends who were getting the bus back to Ireland and so departing that day.

Headed back home and came back to Oksnehallen to have a closing party, which turned into more watching plenary and eventually Obama and his woeful speech which is seriously lacking in mainstream media – I wasn’t taking notes so I was hoping there would be a transcript on the net – there probably is by the time you read this, but at the time I write this there was little except the blog linked below.

He basically hummed and hawed through a speech holding up a flimsy piece of paper that he had got through side-lining the UN process and meeting with a few big players and got what amounted to nothing – and then at the end said “See you on the plane!” The irony of this statement cause the crowd gathered around the screen to laugh and boo in equal measure – Obama realised his gaff and started to dig deeper by throwing out statements about non-legally binding and countries appendices, and basically showed he hadn’t a clue what he was talking about.

I’m sorry but if the world’s most high handed nation can’t get its act together for the Copenhagen talks and spends all their working time on health care so that they can’t commit to anything before Copenhagen, then shame on them. I found it incredibly hard to swallow that Obama’s hands were tied. We simply don’t have the time for this. As the Papua New Guinean delegate said in Bali and which Obama quoted (misquoted), “if you’re not here to lead then get out of the way”.

Ok-rant over – I just needed to somehow make sense of the lack of anything to come out of what has in effect been a conference on “saving the world” – I can’t put this strongly enough, and yet politicians are treating it like a political football….

Ok – rant really over this time.

On the positive side, I’ve had a huge education in the the far-reaching nature of Climate Justice which will add to my role in Presentation Ireland, and the consolidation of the major NGO’s in their action on this will remain after the conference. In the youth movement alone there’s been a huge level of professionality while still maintaining their role as the moral stakeholders and leading protests, such as the one I was involved in this morning – I’ve carefully chosen my protests though so as to make sure what I do is in line with Presentation Ireland. Also too because my sister ended up in the wrong protest at the wrong time years ago, but that’s a story to relate another day.

In Ireland ten years ago, the environmental and development NGO’s barely knew of eachother, nowadays they sit across tables on coalitions because of climate change’s nature and impacts.

The movement to sort out Climate Change is growing and the grassroots are getting deeper and more far-reaching, so if the governments aren’t willing to act, then like the Papua New Guinea leader said – get out of the way and let community organisations, youth organisations and all the other civil society organisations, whose voices were effectively silenced in the last few days when less than 1.5% of them were allowed in negotiations on Thursday and Friday, show you what they can and are capable of doing to help eachother out. Because as I referred to at the start of my blog on this conference, and to paraphrase the representative of the world’s churches and faiths who spoke to the closing plenary that Friday

It all comes back to love and showing love – love for each other and love for the planet

So here’s the link to a more articulate blog than mine – with pictures!!!

I’m sorry if my post isn’t the most cogent or tends to resemble a rant every now and again but it’s been a rollercoaster ride of two weeks and hopefully with a few days to sort my head I’ll make sense of what happens next, because one thing I’m sure of, is that take home message from Copenhagen isn’t that “we tried and failed, because many weren’t allowed to try and many voices were not heard, so to say we tried and failed is extremely demobilising” instead we should focus on making sure our voices can’t be ignored and raising them higher and leading by example!!!

The pope sends a well needed message here:

It’s not looking great.

I’ve been roped into maybe shaving my head in shame if it’s a dud deal!

A big question people are asking is whether no deal is better than a bad deal?

Well I might be looking at a seriously chilly christmas either way!

Hilary Clinton was big news today as she committed the US to financing up to a tune of 100 billion but her language was political so who knows what that actually means

A video post below

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez made an impassioned speech blaming “the selfishness of consumers in the richest countries” for causing climate change, and their “lack of solidarity with those who are hungry, who are poor and are most in need”.
I lifted that from an Irish Times article by Frank MacDonald. I’m a bit worried now. I went to this mixer last night for climate professionals where I was once again a fish out of water – It was for BINGO’s (Business and industrial NGO’s) in a swanky hotel, where once again everyone but me was in a suit. But I won them over with my Irish Charm ™ and soon was trading war stories from the different perspectives we had. Two of them were Italian delegates, and at the hotel lobby, which also coincidentally was hosting the IETA (the International Emissions Trading Association), and overlooking a prototype electric porsche we nattered shoptalk about negotiations and they said “it’s not good”. Just when we were leaving we met a Swedish party man (they have pink badges and can go all over the place – we yellow badged ngo’s wish we could have their access). He said they’ve yet again thrown out another text and were agreeing on a process – for the last 24 hours!!!

I’ve been working on the communications side for the youth NGO’s while I’ve been there and we were all in a lottery for the last few badges for today – the Youth ngo’s
had 120 to distribute (they’ll have 60 tomorrow). And I unfortunately didn’t get one. But you know what – that’s a good thing! I can actually get to see the other things going on in Copenhagen – like Klimaforum

I’ll keep you posted

So I’m going through the messages I hope to properly delver to Minister Gormley soon and here are some examples:

Dear world leaders, I would like if you would put signs up saying no pollution or stop the pollution please

Please make a deal that supports developing countries re: climate change

All emissions need to counted as part of the carbon budget and the reduction target including emissions from electricity, industry, aviation and shipping

(totally agree and I’ve learned so much about how much emssions come from deforestation and the EU has so many loopholes with regard to our forestry management in what’s called LULUCF – land use and land use change and forest policy)

You can walk or cycle instead of using cars

make sure our voices are heard in Copenhagen

Stop taking money from the poor and take from the rich 🙂

don’t burn fire because of the bad air

recycle rubbish instead of burning rubbish
(or better still reduce the amount of rubbish you make in the first place 🙂 )

make more girls!

(couldn’t agree more – lots of side events on how empowerment of women goes hand in hand with better environmental protection!!!)

save energy by reading a book in the sun instead of turning on the lights

Dear world leaders I would like it if you could do less polluting. I would like it if you could open more windmills. I would like it if you would all save the environment.
(so polite!!!)

Take climate change seriously and respect our earth

I want more people to care
(Aww when I read this, written in scribbly writing myself and very nice canadian girl Farnam were struck silent for a second – it’s what it’s all about eh?)

Stop flooding in Ireland, stop the Arctic from melting

Get people to turn off lights if not using . get people to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth – walk instead of driving because it will make you healthy and the car won’t pollute the air – by doing a small thing you can make a big difference
(sooooo cute – and she drew a little planet earth on it!!)

So the plan is to give these to Minister Gormley and I’m sitting patiently by my phone editing and working on other stuff but prepared to drop everything to give him the message in a bottle – some messages were taken out of bottles cause of what I could carry over but I was given a sturdy bag here which says “I used to be a plastic bottle” so I’ve put the excess ones in there – they’re still in a bottle of sorts!

So I’m meant to be writing an article on the EU youth minister meeting right now – but I actually want to watch some of what’s happening in plenary. There are two big plenary rooms in the bella centre – all the rooms here are named after danish luminaries.

Ooh just saw yet another impassioned plea from President Nasheed of the Maldives – they actually held an underwater cabinet meeting earlier on this year to highlight what will happen with over 1.5 degrees of wamring – i.e. the Maldives will disappear.

The pics of it can be seen here

Maybe if we had a few of those it would be too chilly for a certain green politician to disgrace himself the way he did – see I get news from Ireland too! so if you have any comments of things you want me to follow up on let me know! Although the thing I thought was most disgraceful was the lack of politicians in the Dail that day! 😉

So far I’ve been working non-stop for the YOUNGO communications working group and spent most of yesterday writing a press release on the EU ministerial meeting with EU youth. I asked them about ESD and got a fairly standard reply from the Finnish special envoy, we have the podcast recorded for download here which we got Minister Gormley to attend. By doing this I missed talks by Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger, I stayed out of plenary where Ban Ki Moon was talking with Prince Charles and Wangari Maathai (wonderful woman!!). I did manage to see our former president Mary Robinson present the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer with a life ring (what do you call them the things you throw to drowning people – my articulation is shot today!) on behalf of the island nations that will disappear. SO today I was excited to go to plenary when of course no NGO’s were allowed anymore! Gah!!!

So I’m posting links about previous events:

So Severn Suzuki gave the International Youth Climate Movement an exclusive pep-talk which was great – to get more of an idea of who she is – she was the young girl who silenced the world in 1992 in Rio de Janiero

You can see the clip here

So through the wonders of editing I clipped a little of this and Christina Ora’s plea last week to opening plenary and added them to the clip Severn sent us this week (her mother won’t let her talk to anyone, as she is just after contributing to the next generation but she sent this clip exclusively to the youth movement)

You can see mine and my techy friend Ben’s craftmanship here – pretty snazzy if I do say so myself!!!

Preparing questions for an EU minister meeting – heavily publicised it among the Irish press here, so hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll be covered!

So I said I’d explain the UN process and I will. So at the moment with the climate change negotiations there are two tracks going on – these are the Kyoto Protocol (KP) track and the “Long-term Commitment” track (LCA). All countries are in the latter, but the US and China are notoriously not in the former.

A plenary is a fancy word for meeting

Within and without these bodies there are various subgroups looking at specific aspects of climate change including REDD (which stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). I’ve just press released for a young man from India who will speak on behalf of the international Youth constituency to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA – pronounced substa). Oh and I wrote about 90% of his speech too!

SBSTA are the guys who advise on the scientific collecting of information and management of ecosystems, etc and for instance the REDD proposal has a very loose definition of what a forest is, meaning that countries could theoretically replace their old-growth natural forests with intact ecosystems with plantations of a monoculture (sitka spruce anyone?) and call it a forest and be accredited for it.

So NGO’s are appealing for clear definitions of the text in this and that it also takes into account the need of local and indigenous people that depend on the forests and also that it is neither green-washed nor “indigenous”-washed. A bit bulky – I know but better than the first few drafts!
So I’m off to paper the journalists with the release and then sit down and hear my speech! A bit odd but hey!

Oh and the speech includes the phrase “take the brackets off our future” cause basically all the areas that are in negotiation (that the countries haven’t agreed on) within the climate change agreement are in square brackets – see here for the preliminary text: