Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Are Climate Change Protesters Being Referred to as Anarchists?

Yes some of them got out of hand (and were quickly removed by the protesters themselves) , but that did not seem to be the norm. It's rather interesting though that they would refer to the demonstrators as anarchists. I always think of anarchists as being people who want to overthrow a government, or a violent mob.

And left-wing activists? Is that what this is about now? If you want action on climate change you're automatically left-wing? This whole thing is getting intense, but shouldn't be a left-right issue. It's a human issue. I'll bet there are many climate scientists who vote Republican or Conservative.

Copenhagen climate summit: 1,000 anarchists arrested
Nearly 1,000 people were arrested in Copenhagen yesterday as anarchists and left-wing activists fought running street battles with police in the Danish capital as negotiations continued at the climate summit.
By Colin Freeman
December 12, 2009

Cobble stones were thrown through the windows of the former stock exchange building and foreign office buildings in the city, but police made a large number of pre-emptive arrests under a controversial anti-hooligan law.

Suspected troublemakers were herded into a closed-off street, made to sit down and then tied up with plastic cuffs. They were then bused to a detention centre set up for the climate conference.

Police said four cars were set on fire during the evening. One policeman was hurt by a stone and a Swedish man injured by a firework.

"You don't have to use that kind of violence to be heard," said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister presiding at the United Nations talks. She condemned rioters after welcoming the main march at a candlelit vigil outside the conference centre.

One activist group accused the police of abuse complaining people had been forced sit on the road for hours in near-freezing temperatures.

The day's main demonstration - a march involving 40,000 people - remained good natured but there remain fears that a hard-core of more violent demonstrators may still be waiting until later in the week, when President Barack Obama and other world leaders will arrive, to protest.

Inside the Bella Centre, delegates at the COP15 climate summit gathered around flat-screen TVs, showing both the police crackdown and the peaceful rally of environmental compaigners.

Despite the protesters' urgings, there are growing fears that the summit could degenerate into an undignified global squabbling match with poor nations accusing their rich counterparts of forging a "backroom deal" at a secret dinner.

The split that the meeting has exposed between wealthy and impoverished nations was laid bare with news that ministers from a select clique of 40 countries were dining together away from the summit venue.

The meal, held behind closed doors at an undisclosed location, was viewed as a last-ditch attempt to cobble together a politically acceptable deal after a week of discussions marred by in-fighting, and "greener than thou" posturing over who is most to blame for global warming. Ministers are desperate to have a document ready when heads of state arrive for the final stages of the two-week conference on Thursday.

Leading them will be Gordon Brown, who has fashioned himself as a global champion in the battle against climate change, and who is arriving ahead of other top statesmen in a bid to stamp his authority on the meeting.

But so far officials from 194 countries have failed to make any substantive agreements on even the most basic goals.

Arguments are still raging over targets and deadlines for limiting global temperature rise, as well as the extent to which rich nations should fund green projects for poor ones, and whether emerging economic superpowers like China should balance green considerations against much-needed development.

Washington and Beijing have also traded insults over whether China should fund its own green measures or receive handouts financed largely by the West.

With signs of an irreconcilable split growing between the large and powerful and the small and poor, last night's dinner, attended by countries including Britain, the US, China and India – was viewed as an attempt by mostly bigger, better-off nations to strike a deal in private.

"A lot of the deals are done in back rooms but there has to be transparency at the same time," said Keith Allott, of the World Wildlife Fund, which claims smaller nations are being left out of the process.

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, attempted to paint a brighter picture of the conference, insisting he was optimistic of a deal by the time heads of state arrived.

"This remains difficult in process terms because we have 100 and something leaders arriving on Thursday and we have to get to an agreement by the time they leave," he said.

"The world is doing what it has never done before, which is trying to peak emissions and see them fall. It is not a done deal, it remains in the balance."

Mr Brown plans to travel to Copenhagen on Tuesday evening, a day earlier than planned, in an attempt to help "seal the deal". Downing Street sources said the Prime Minister was expected to hold one-to-one meetings with key figures including Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General.

He will attend a formal dinner on Thursday and an all-day session on Friday before returning to Britain that night. A source said: "He remains concerned that the commitment for a deal is still short of what is required."

A productive meeting at Copenhagen is widely seen as being crucial to the credibility of the global campaign on climate change. But the first week saw slow progress. Rich and poor repeatedly clashed over the need to reduce greenhouse gases, with Africa and the small island states threatening to walk out unless the developed nations committed to deeper cuts.

Many of the exchanges were bad-tempered, souring an event that aspires to be a vehicle for better global co-operation. He Yafei, China's vice minister of foreign affairs, said he was "shocked" at US climate change negotiator Todd Stern's assertion that Beijing did not need any American money. "It's not just about the US and China, it's the whole international community," he said, insisting that climate change was historically the fault of the West. "The US is a developed country and China is part of the developing countries. To tackle global climate change we need to work together."

Ian Fry, the representative of the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu, has also claimed that even the more vulnerable countries' intended target to restrict global warming to a rise of 1.5C will leave his island underwater because of rising sea levels.

However, the G8 and major developing economies believe it is realistically impossible to restrict temperature rises to less than 2C. They have also accused developing nations of demanding more "go green" cash than they actually need.

After seven days' negotiating there is so far only a draft agreement on the table. The framework for a possible "Copenhagen Protocol" talks about cuts for developed nations of between 25 and 45 per cent by 2020, and calls on rich nations to pay their poorer cousins to reduce their emissions. But blanks remain in what negotiators term the "square brackets" – where officials must eventually insert precise figures and dates.

There is also the question of making the agreement enforceable in law. Britain has already suggested that a further summit will be necessary in six months' time to address the issue.

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