An update on UN Climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany brought to you by our very own Cindy Baxter who has been at the negotiations since the start.
Coming to the end of a hard two weeks here at the climate talks in Bonn, we were greeted yesterday by a very (VERY) loud siren on the back of a truck parked by our colleagues just down from the conference centre. Sounding the alarm for the climate. The siren went on for two hours before our 15 activists were arrested. The noise carried into the building and maybe it jolted some sense into at least some of the negotiators here.
Why were we sounding the alarm? Well, anyone who's been watching these talks would be quite amazed at the complete lack of urgency in these corridors, given the science on climate change. The usual suspects, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, are holding everything up, and seem more obsessed with the short term, special interests of their fossil
fuel industries at home. I could get very depressed at this stage. Time is marching on.
But what has kept me upbeat is the incredibly level of energy from civil society. On the first day, youth from across Germany got up at 4 a.m., marched through Bonn to the centre here, dressed as trees, penguins, sheiks and all sorts, again to put pressure on the delegates as they arrived.
Last Saturday, in the pouring rain, 450 people turned out to lie on the grass for a an hour to make up an aerial photo for John Quigley, the guy who does amazing aerial art with people. They rallied, shouted, and were utterly enthusiastic about how we CAN get these governments to change.
Then our newest campaigner here, Joao from Brazil, organised a bunch of our people to turn out on Monday morning with a whole lot of other groups to highlight the need to protect the indigenous peoples and biodiversity of the world's forests. Joao has been running from dawn to dusk, working with his office back home to help (successfully!) stop President Lula from
signing a particularly bad law which could have seen millions of hectares of the Amazon go into the wrong hands.
All the development groups are here; there's a huge youth network. There are "negotiator trackers" from at least 15 countries who are following their delegations and blogging on them back home so as to keep a public eye on what's happening. Questions are being asked in Parliaments across the world. Japan announced a very bad target yesterday and received a storm of protest here, including a great little newspaper with a "George W Aso" picture on it.
Meanwhile in a corner of the building, there's a very tatty looking homeless bear. I saw him last in Poznan, hitching to Copenhagen. He's been to Spain since then, and around Germany. He's tired. His shoes are worn out. He's still got 6 months to go, but he's determined to make it.
Just like me, just like you - we all have to keep the pressure up on our governments. The more people watching them, the better.
So from this Bonn meeting to the next one, from the G8 to the UN and to our leaders we will keep this pressure up. Show them we care and that the climate matters. Get your leader to go to Copenhagen and help get the right deal for the climate.