Three days left to save the world.
As dramatic as it sounds, the reality is time is running out to avoid a "Kyoto-style" failure, and with the exile of most NGOs, the heat is on.
As per my bio, I'm here in Copenhagen as part of the Canadian Youth Delegation, tasked with communicating to Canadians about the conference, and to do our part to try to achieve an ambitious, equitable global framework. For myself, that means communicating through this blog not only the activities of the youth delegation, but to provide an alternative perspective and the various voices within the Copenhagen conference that are beyond just reporting country emission cuts.
To achieve those ambitious goals, our days usually begin at 7am catching up on what news outlets are reporting on the conference and later filled with meetings with the Canadian delegation, think-thanks, NGOs and international delegates, often texting and emailing each other the latest news coming out of the plenary sessions. Depending on the state of the negotiations, actions are planned periodically, many the result of late-night coffee-fueled strategy sessions in our tiny hostel concerned with what message we want to get across, how we feel we can affect Canada's stance at the negotiations.
With the news that Canada is considering to revise its targets to be lower than what the Conservatives originally proposed, many of the youth delegates were devastated, especially at the notion that the government may have been lying to the public all along of what their original intention was at the Copenhagen negotiations. That's why many of the youth delegates decided to stage a "lie-in" at the conference, on the second to last day many of us will be allowed into the conference centre.
"Despite the increased awareness, clarified science, and immense global action on the climate problem that the past three years have seen, the Canadian government is moving backwards, and completely free of accountability," summarized Rhiya Trivedi, who had been earlier snubbed by Jim Prentice at the conference centre. "By lying about something of such grave importance, the Canadian Government is breaking the fundamental agreement that exists between a government and its people."
The simple fact, its not easy being a Canadian at these conferences. I'm often asked at least once a day to explain Canada's climate policy and its lack of ambition, and at other times more harshly, told "GO Canada", as in, physically to leave the conference and to remove our country's presence.
75% of Canadians are embarrassed at the government's position on climate change. Here's hoping that in the next few days as Stephen Harper arrives in Copenhagen, that the message will be heard.