Ethiopian activists: PM Zenawi in Copenhagen to collect cash, not fight climate change

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- In this, the third and shortest of our video interviews with Ethiopians who traveled to Denmark to protest against their prime minister, Meles Zenawi, a demonstrator hints that climatic conditions are a factor in the unrest in his homeland, the Ethiopian region of Ogaden:

Anti-Zenawi Ethiopian protesters: Why is Obama meeting with murderer?

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- This is the second of three parts of our interviews with Ethiopians who traveled 3,600 miles* to Denmark from their home country to denounce Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He is acting as spokesman for the  African Union in talks to reach a global climate treaty.

Two protesters hold forth here, including one who calls Zenawi a "murderer" and questions President Barack Obama's willingness to deal with Zenawi. We continue to await comment from Ethiopia's consulate in Seattle:

* Due to an editing error, this post initially misstated the distance from Ethiopia to Denmark.

Zenawi protesters at Copenhagen climate talks: Ethiopia raping women, environment, and killing

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly
COPENHAGEN -- This is the first of three videos showing the Ogadenian protests against the Ethiopian government and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. This protester alleges widespread killing and raping by the Ethiopian military, as well as environmental damage.

We heard earlier that the Ogadenians were seeking to set up an autonomous region, like the Kurds in northern Iraq, but these people appear to be calling for full independence.

See our earlier post for details. Our efforts to contact the Ethiopian consultate in Seattle for comment still have not been successful:

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.