Posted by Daniel, political advisor at the Bali International Conference Centre
Almost a full working week is over at these climate talks. In another week, the end game will start. We will start to have an inkling of whether our efforts here have been worth it. It’s not easy to explain plainly what I and other civil society reps have actually been doing for all the long hours we have spent here at the Convention centre all week. The world of global climate talks is a world of rumour chasing, coffee drinking, constant huddles and meetings – with country delegations, with other NGOs, with the rest of the Greenpeace crowd. Press releases need to be discussed, drafted and then often enough redrafted as the negotiations have already moved on. People who are not at the talks but in national Greenpeace offices need to be kept informed of what’s going on – and motivated to do something, if it happens to be their government that is acting up. There is a fair amount of sitting in big windowless rooms listening to boring speeches, as well. The challenge is to wake up again when something really outrageous happens – and to then react. Countries that are particularly in the way of progress are nominated for the Fossil of the Day awards at the daily Climate Action Network meeting (have a look at the winners so far this week here). A fun way to remind governments that they are being watched. That they will not get away with cooking the climate. That they will take the blame for their (in)actions.
Another way in which we react to the follies of our governments at these international negotiations is through producing our own newsletter – ECO. ECO has a proud tradition – ECO was first produced at the first Earth Summit in Stockholm in 1972. It is produced overnight for delegates to read in the morning – and a remarkable number of them can be seen doing just that. As ECO is for delegates, the language is not that of the tabloids. It’s techy, policy wonkish -but it is always also tongue in cheek … Editing ECO is a licence to be sarcastic.
ECO is hard work. The one nights this week that I helped editing it, I got to bed at 3am. But ECO is also therapy. ECO means sitting around with like-minded people from around the world, trying to find witty ways in which to put across our outrage and anger – and our hopes for what the negotiations could deliver. Editing ECO is a team effort and one that often involves a lot of laughs (as well as, sometimes, beer). ECO has already been sighted by Japan this week in the official meetings. Japan reacted to being attacked in ECO by clarifying that they do not want to trash the Kyoto Protocol. Good. We just wish they would contribute to moving things forward here as well. That, they are decidedly not!
Other countries that are being very unhelpful here are the US and Canada. And the EU as well as Australia, New Zealand and others could do way more than they are to show leadership. Yet another good reason for all of you out there in those countries to participate in the global day of action tomorrow. Please, give us a little hand - as we head to another meeting!