It’s one of the largest petitions in history—and the biggest climate-related petition ever delivered. Organized by the TckTckTck campaign, 10 million people called for leaders to sign a fair, ambitious, and legally binding climate treaty at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Cop15).
After the opening press conference on Monday, young people from around the globe handed the petition to Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations agency organizing Cop15, and Connie Hedegaard, Danish Climate Minister and President of Cop15. More than 220 leading civil society organizations from environmental, development, labor, and health fields came together for the campaign.
Richard Graves of Yes! Magazine reports on the event: “Although the number of people that had signed the petition is a staggering figure, what really captivated the crowd was the short speech by Leah Wickham, 24, of Fiji, who spoke about the ‘hopes and dreams’ of the ten million people that had signed the petition. Her heartfelt talk silenced the room. Small island nations like her own, she said, are on the front line of climate change.”
According to Wickham, the Copenhagen climate treaty “‘represents our hopes and dreams for all the generations that will be … Fifty years from now, my children will be raising their own families and it is my biggest hope that they will still be able to call our islands home. … In the end, climate change will not discriminate.’”
Yvo de Boer promised to deliver, saying, “This is not just about U.N. decisions and treaties, this is about people, culture, and countries’ survival. The talking needs to stop and the action needs to begin.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also added incentive for a deal. On Monday, the EPA announced that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the environment and must be regulated. As Marjorie Childress reports for the New Mexico Independent, the endangerment finding means that the EPA can set stronger emissions requirements in the future.
In Grist, David Roberts debunks a leaked draft agreement that has caused a media flurry. He writes: “It’s now become clear that the supposedly new draft is one of several old drafts that have been floating around for weeks. For the most part [the drafts] are boring and practical, though the anti-World Bank crowd is pissed. Regardless, the draft is of no particular significance in and of itself; it reflects longstanding points of tension between rich and poor countries but did not cause them.”
People want a climate deal, now. In an interview with the Uptake’s Jacob Wheeler, Naomi Klein of The Nation warns against the idea of “Hopenhagen,” saying, “There’s no point in hoping for something that is not on the negotiating table.” Instead, she discusses what we can realistically expect from the climate talks.
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