A Question for the Planet
A question for the planet, 'Can a few thousand negotiators gathered here in Copenhagen get beyond all the distractions and hype and cut deal?'
Despite the impending arrival of President Obama there is no sense of "Yes We Can" around here. We're coming down to the last few days and the United States is still more concerned with business issues than a climate treaty. My own country continues to stand in the path of the future, more concerned with oil profits than protecting the global commons.
While I'm typing the plenary session is on the big screen. There's no space in the plenary room for observers. After 20 years of campaigning on climate change and 35 years campaigning on energy (they overlap, I'm not that old) I am merely an observer.
Merely an observer allowed to be around only at the pleasure of government. Governments define the issues. Governments set the rules. Governments ..........
We have organized ourselves into government units big and small. A structure ill suited to solving a global problem. Ill suited, but not incapable of coming together in a crisis. Every day neighbours rally around fire victims or a lost child often making personal sacrifice: missing work and pay checks, spending hours in the cold, opening up our homes to strangers.
Why do groups of people behave differently when they become countries? Where individuals act without hesitation governments hold back. Where individuals are generous, governments are stingy. Where individuals see a threat they react, while governments are blind.
Let's hope over the next three days the negotiators shake off the accouterments of government and remember they are individuals who will act without hesitation when they hear the screams of an unborn child in a fire.
Yet, ten days into the meeting and there is still no sign of the discussions coming together.