Copenhagen

Climate "deal" reached in Copenhagen; see great pics, dramatic video of the final hours here

rm-iwest-mug-150x150Well, the delegates to the international climate talks in Copenhagen for the most part are headed for the airport or already winging their way home. Presumably you've seen the coverage; we won't try to duplicate that here, although I'll be back Monday with some reflections. We have some great photos that have been rotating through InvestigateWest's billboard slideshow that I'm going to feature below, plus Blair Kelly's video of the last major protest, which includes dramatic scenes of police beating demonstrators -- some with their hands in the air -- with batons. Activists (perhaps ironically, considering they were shut down by the Copenhagen cops) dubbed that protest "Reclaim the Power."

If you're interested in a few tidbits you may have missed in the way of denouement on the negotiations, check out:

  • The notes covering the final United Nations plenary in Copenhagen, courtesy of Andrew Revkin's Dot.Earth blog at the NYT (we'll miss him -- he's taking a buyout, but I hear he may keep doing the blog), and 
  • Bill McKibben's critique of an NYT story on the Group of 77, defending them of course. I have to say that the most remarkable aspect of the talks for me was the way the poor nations made it known they are not going to be pushed around any more.

Copenhagen climate talks' backstory: Ethiopia PM accused of genocide is top African negotiator

By Alexander Kelly

COPENHAGEN – Deafening chants rocked the entrance to the conference center where negotiators tried to piece together a global treaty to fight climate change today – chants that shed light on the intricate nature of the talks and the difficulty of concluding a deal.

[caption id="attachment_7630" align="alignright" width="342" caption="Ogaden is the region colored bright yellow."]Ogaden is the region colored bright yellow.[/caption]

As 130 heads of state took their place at the negotiating table, just hours before the talks were scheduled to come to a close, the cries outside came largely  from Ogadenians, people from a southeastern territory in Ethiopia, 3,600 miles from Denmark. They made their way to Copenhagen to tell United Nations leaders not to negotiate a climate deal with an alleged génocidaire.

That would be Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia. Months ago, he was appointed as the African Union’s spokesman for the final days of the UN climate talks. Now, as he appears to be willing to accept less than most Africans want from the industrialized North out of a climate finance deal, many – including the Ogadenians outside – are calling for his removal from power as top-level negotiator.

[caption id="attachment_7532" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ogadenians protest at the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.

Gregoire says budget cuts won't stop progress on environment

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Even while dealing with international climate change negotiations here, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is thinking about the recession back home. She admits it will hold back environmental progress but says she intends to move foward as best Washington can:

Gregoire at Copenhagen climate talks: Green energy the way to rescue economy

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- In this second of three segments in her interview with InvestigateWest, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire argues that the way to revive the economy is through green jobs needed to fight climate change:

Gregoire, at Copenhagen climate talks, negotiates to bring green-energy companies to Pacific Northwest

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire says she is negotating at the United Nations talks on climate change here with two foreign firms considering launching green-energy ventures in Washington:

This is as much a trade mission for me, an economic development, as it is to represent Washington state and the United States to the rest of the world to show that we are accepting our role and we are leading.

More in this, the first of three segments of InvestigateWest's interview with Gregoire:

UN timber deal would OK “a new form of colonialism," critics charge

By Alexander Kelly

COPENHAGEN – Clayton Thomas-Muller hails from Ontario, Canada -- a First World nation that’s loaded with timber. Ana Filippini comes from nearly the opposite end of the Western Hemisphere, Uruguay, a developing country with vast grasslands known as pampas.

Despite the differences in their homelands, both made their way here to deliver a message to a United Nations conference on climate change:

Your plans to save the Earth could kill our people.

Specifically, they fear for indigenous people who depend on natural forests and grasslands.

A United Nations proposal being negotiated here this week to govern cutting of forests – which accounts for an estimated one-fifth of the human-caused global warming – fails to distinguish between natural and manufactured forests. It’s an omission that would enable timber corporations to log virtually any intact forest on the planet, replacing it with immense swaths of industrial farmland containing only one type of tree, critics charge.

An indigenous Brazilian man addresses a forum on deforestation and native peoples at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen that ends Friday. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan. 

Although the world is likely to hear on Friday that an agreement on slowing deforestation is one of the few bright spots to emerge from two weeks of UN talks on a climate treaty here, indigenous activists see the agreement as anything but a success.

Byline: 

Finally! See arrested InvestigateWester's photos of protesters' charge toward Copenhagen climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow had barely started shooting today, capturing the sprint of demonstrators who tried to break through police lines and storm the United Nations climate treaty talks, before he was arrested. Here are a few images he shot in those brief and chaotic moments:

[caption id="attachment_7430" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="A Danish police officer looks up after using his baton to drop a young woman demonstrator as she and others tried to break through police lines to enter the United Nations climate treaty negotiations. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow. "]A Danish police officer looks up after using his baton to drop a  young woman demonstrator as she and others tried to break through police lines to enter the United Nations climate treaty negotiations.  InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow. [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7429" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="Although police were using force, sometimes so were the demonstrators -- as in this shot, where a police officer is knocked to the ground by the protesters trying to rush the United Nations climate treaty meeting. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Although police were using force, sometimes so were the demonstrators -- as in this shot, where a police officer is knocked to the ground by the protesters trying to rush the United Nations climate treaty meeting.</p />
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InvestigateWest photographer released after arrest covering climate protests in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN -- InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was released from custody by Danish authorities who held him for 10 1/2 hours after arresting him for covering protests outside the United Nations climate summit.

Mark Malijan, an InvestigateWest photographer who was himself pepper-sprayed and hit with a police baton, confirmed Crow's release. Below is a picture shot by Malijan of Crow in custody.

[caption id="attachment_7412" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Christopher Crow shortly after his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Christopher Crow shortly after his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]