I’m just now warming up from the cold of Copenhagen where so many of us were locked out of the proceedings, but still marched to demand four very simple things: Rapid, steep reductions, Rights, Reparations and Representation.
You're probably wondering, "Who won?" I think things are not as simple as win and loose. Our ideal outcome would be a legally binding agreement that delivers on the promise of cutting off the sources and restoring the sinks of greenhouse gasses; the operational implementation of all rights declarations; and a transparent, democratic funding mechanism to redistribute wealth from North to South. We knew we weren't going to get that.
The second best outcome would be a total collapse of the talks under the pressure of the combined forces of Southern governments and social movements, clearly indicating that we won't roll over, or, as the President of the Maldives put it, "We won't sign a global suicide pact." We didn't quite get that, either. What we did get was a total failure of the talks to produce anything substantial.
What came out of it was the Copenhagen Accord, what I like to call “Putting icing on a brick and calling it a cake.”
The battle now is about the future. Will we allow the climate crisis get settled with the US saying, “Let them eat Brick,” or will we build the necessary social movement, on the ground, in the US to mail that brick back to Washington stamped, “return to sender”?
What we got out of Copenhagen was a bit of time to organize and come back stronger. What they got is the bigger mic and bigger stick. But we also have a People’s Summit in Bolivia in April, the United States Social Forum in June, strategy meetings, and actions all over the country demanding Climate Justice and confronting false solutions.
And we did advance some very powerful ideas. Climate Debt is fully on the table. Not even 5 years ago, talking about "Ecological Debt" was thought of as "pie-in-the-sky." Now, even US negotiators have to respond to the question of debt. The words, "Climate Justice," predominate, and while we have to fight to maintain control of what it means, it is on everyone's lips.