Sitting in our hotel lobby, there’s a sombre atmosphere amongst our fellow campaigners who alternately reach for the large communal pot of steaming coffee in an attempt to keep alert. Most have been up all night, eyes glued to the internet.
The culmination of the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, and a seminal point in the history of activism on climate change, was too much to resist, even if the proposed accord fell far short of our expectations.
It is hard to believe that scarcely a week has passed since we arrived in Copenhagen on a coach with 30 other CAFOD volunteers and campaigners. It has been something of a rollercoaster, with many high points interspersed with a few low ones.
Getting to know Clare, Paul, Sr Alphonsus and some of the other CAFOD volunteers you’ve heard from over the past week has been inspirational. They’ve carried us CAFOD staff with them in their enthusiasm, their passion, and their unrelenting commitment. They have given hope at times of despair, and support when we needed it most. Continue reading
Whilst negotiations stalled within the Bella Centre, most of us in Copenhagen were waiting anxiously on the outside to find out what was happening. As of Tuesday, access to the talks has been severely restricted.
Although all CAFOD staff and volunteers had full accreditation, they implemented an additional tier so that only those with coveted secondary cards could get in, causing massive frustration. And since Heads of State arrived on Wednesday, the numbers allowed access diminish every day.
Not only are people asking why 45,000 were accredited when capacity is limited to 15,000 but there’s also concern about the degree to which civil society is being excluded from these crucial talks. Continue reading
credit: Matthew Gonzalez-Noda/Christian Aid
15: The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15), which this year takes place in Copenhagen, where signatories to the UN Framework on the Convention of Climate Change meet.
512,894: The number of climate justice pledges presented by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the UN’s climate change chief, Yvo de Boer, at a rally in Copenhagen today (pictured left).
55,000: The number of climate justice actions taken by CAFOD supporters in England and Wales, which formed part of the tally.
6: The number of days the COP15 negotiations have been going on already, with frustratingly slow progress. Continue reading
Rising well before dawn this morning, we set out early to register at the Bella Centre where COP15 is taking place and so were in time to see this huge conference centre come to life.
Official country delegations ran from pillar to post, mixing with people from New Zealand to Nicaragua, all of whom brought with them stories of climate change and how it is already affecting their lives. It was a sight to be seen.
We soon met with Sam Maleshi Shivaji, Livelihoods Coordinator at Caritas Kenya, who told us of the extreme drought his country is experiencing and its grave effects. We quickly overcame our sense of awe at being part of such a huge international conference, as his words brought us back down to earth. Continue reading