Daniella Rosche with leaflet she was arrested for distributing at Earth Summit
The lobbyists are here under the auspices of the World Business
Council on Sustainable Development, and their party at the Hilton
Hotel was probably ill timed.
In a measure of how repressive regulations around the summit
have become, the bold illegal act which Greenpeace, WWF, the Third
World Network, and a half dozen other environmental groups took was
-- distributing a leaflet. Our demand: remove language making
environmental regulation secondary to the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) agreements and trade considerations.
Greenpeace activist Daniella Rosche was momentarily arrested and
her UN pass confiscated for handing pieces of paper to Ministers as
they entered the meeting hall.
The leaflet read: "Don't betray the UN system, the world's
people, and planet Earth." It was headlined "Para 17: Take out
"While Ensuring WTO Consistency."
How did the most important environmental victory of the Summit
so far come about? Inside the meeting room, it began with Norway
requesting that Paragraph 17 remain open due to the controversy
over the WTO Language. Tuvalu and a handful of other countries
echoed the call.
Then, in an example of what African leadership at this
conference should be, Dr. Tewolde Egziabher of Ethiopia made one of
the great speeches of the Summit. He called for removal of the WTO
language on the basis that WTO regulations unfairly benefited the
rich, unfairly favoured trade over environmental protection, and
ran counter to the principles that the Earth Summit had been
convened to stand for.
The G77 then stood up to say that while they had agreed not to
reopen this issue, they were repeating their demand to have the
language removed now that others had reopened it.
And when the EU delegate stood up, the entire room knew that the
WTO's house of cards had fallen.
By 3am this morning when the session broke, we'd won the first
really significant victory of the Summit, and the first check on
WTO's hegemony since Seattle. Hope that sushi was good, boys.
In other late night developments, the Summit pushed through
language on corporate responsibility which is "as good as we could
have hoped" in the words of Greenpeace political director Remí
Parmentier, and kicked over to Heads of State the question of
renewable energy. What the Heads of State do with energy policy
remains one of the key determining factors on whether this Summit
will be a success or not. "The only thing left on the table is the
one thing they didn't want to talk about" said Parmentier.
Negotiators from the United States delegation, which numbers
300, have been so bloody-minded in their attempts to get renewable
energy off the table that they've effectively been pushing for an
energy plan which would amount to a ban on solar power.
"The US backroom boys, under instruction from the Whitehouse,
are prepared to allow millions to have their lives and livelihoods
threatened by the impacts of climate change -- and all to protect
the oil industry back home," said Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace's
climate policy advisor.
"We call on Blair, Schroeder, Chirac, and Cardoso to take a
strong stand to protect the climnate by securing an action plan on
energy for the poor and a kickstart for the clean energy
revolution. The fate of this Summit rests in their hands," said