Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Walked through the snow to the Danish Parliament where MPs from 62 countries were meeting to discuss Climate Change and our response. As the UKs only representative, I thought it probably best I arrive on time; but with my map turning into papier macheand the snow blowing into my face as I got progressively more lost, there were moments during my epic jurney when I had my doubts!

As I walked, the awe in which I hold the Danes increased. They are still on their bikes, even in this weather and not a centimetre of lycra or helmet between them.

After listening to the opening remarks of the Namibian President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the President of the Danish Parliament, we were treated to a compelling and eloquent speech from a man who has become a Climate Change superstar: the President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed.

Famous for holding cabinet meetings under water, Mr Nasheed has brought the plight of his country and other island states to the forefront of the public's mind.

I nade some notes of what he said:

"A 2 degrees in temperature spells death for my country"

"Whatever action we take on Climate Change, we must understand that this is not the usual international problem that can be solved by a messy political compromise."

"You can't negotiate with the laws of physics"

"You can't cut a deal with Mother Nature"

He urged that temperaratures must not rise beyond 1.5 degrees and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere cannot rise above 350 parts per million.

He also pointed out that this problem was not just one that developed countries must take action on. Even if developed countries stopped emitting carbon tomorrow, but developed countries continued to grow along the lines of business as usual, the temperature of the world will have increased by 4 degrees by the end of the century.

John Prescott spoke "with the freedom I now have from the backbenches"

He said that it would be impossible to cut a deal that would work to ensure temperatures do not rise above 1.5 degrees and with only 60 hours left in the negotiations, this demand was a distraction from what has been achieved thus far.

He said that he regretted some of the things that the negotiators had said in particular Tod Stern's remarks about China being a greater polluter than the US. Stern has said this is not about politics or morality, just maths. John made a point on the maths: the Americans should remember that they emit 22tonnes of carbon per person whilst the Chinese only 6 tonnes. Another indisputable figure is that America's GDP is seven times higher than China's. "Such remarks offend people of sense and fairness"

He didn't just have his sights on the Americans though. John also had a go at the Chinese. China's target of decreased carbon intensity underestimates the results of the policies they say they are going to implement.

I'm due to speak at a meeting at the Bella Center, but the pictures I've been seeing on the television shows complete chaos both outside and inside. Shall get on the bus and attempt to get in!