Stop Climate Chaos

SCCS blog from Copenhagen: Part 1

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland @ Cop15

Dr Sam Gardner
DAY ONE by Dr Sam Gardner.
Monday 7th December 2009

Right now, assuming part two of my seven-part journey has gone to plan, I should have eaten a hearty breakfast and now be preparing to disembark from a ferry. If not, then I'm hoping the restaurant doesn't run out of food as I bob around somewhere in the middle of the North Sea.

But, I'm full of confidence that by the wonders of train, ferry, bus and metro I'll soon be in Copenhagen - a city famed for its fine style as well as its amazing public transport and cycling network. It may, over the course of the next two weeks, also write its name into the history books as the city where the world finally woke up to the urgency of climate change, where governments ditched short-term self interest and the world was put on the path to a safe future for all.

Over the next fortnight, Copenhagen will host the world's biggest climate gathering. If size were a measure of success then the strong deal we need to see from these talks would be in the bag. Some 15,000 delegates plus a 5,000-strong press corps will also be joined by tens of thousands of concerned citizens who plan to descend on the Danish capital to try and make their voices heard.

The urgency of climate change is mobilising people in huge numbers across the world. No longer can western politicians excuse their dangerous hesitancy with a plea for public support for action. This call has been answered time and time again. The public mandate for action is explicit. Some 8,000 people braved a miserable day in Glasgow to make this call loud and clear. They were joined by over 30,000 in London and a further 15,000 in Brussels.

As I emerged out of a Glasgow underground station to join the march on Saturday the air was full of the sound of drums and trumpets from one of the many bands that lined the route. As I waited at the junction to join my wife Emma and wee son Angus (not even 18 months and his second climate rally) I stretched to see where the front of the march was. But, it simply disappeared way off into the distance. Nor could I see the end of the march. This was a fantastic sight. Thousands had turned out from across Scotland and the streets were filled. Our fears that miserable weather, an early start and a Christmas shopping day would dampen the turnout turned out to just be wasted nervous energy. Gail and everyone else in the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition involved in organising this huge event should be rightly proud. It's just a pity that the event had fallen foul of Glasgow Council's tough new policy on marches and had thus been prevented from going through the city centre. No matter though: folk hung out of windows and stood on balconies to cheer us on as we made our way to Kelvingrove. Half way round the route the whole march stopped for a mass Mexican Wave, made only slightly surreal by doing it partly under Scotland's busiest motorway - the M8.

Today (Monday 7th), sees the start of the first of many long days of negotiations. I’ll try and give you a sense of the inevitable rollercoaster ride and our efforts in promoting Scotland’s Climate Change Act as the best example of the level of ambition we need to see from world leaders. Armed with this world leading legislation, the memory of thousands marching and a crate of specially produced whisky to celebrate the 42% emissions reduction commitment made by the Scottish Parliament. I’m pretty confident that I’ll get folks attention. Let's just hope they get the message: a Fair, Ambitious and Binding (FAB!) deal is what we need to see if this is to be a success.

ECO Cop15 newsletter for 7th Dec

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