Feature: NGOs in dramatic Copenhagen push

11:23, December 16, 2009      

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by Xinhua writer Xu Liyu

Sophie Bradley and her friends from England made an early start on Christmas by singing carols, but the lyrics of these carols carried a different message: protect Mother Nature or we are going to face the worst of climate change.

To the familiar tune of "Jingle Bells," they sang:

"Gaia yells, Gaia yells

Treat me nice today

If you don't

The glaciers are going to melt away."

Sophie and her group of friends were just the latest to add a touch of color to the otherwise tense, protracted climate talks in Copenhagen, but their message was no less serious.

While melting glaciers have highlighted the magnitude of the issue, more than 100 heads of state and government are coming to Copenhagen later this week to endorse global efforts to avoid the worst of climate change.

A UN panel of climate scientists were proposing a 25-40 percent cut in carbon emissions by rich nations by 2020 in order to keep global warming under control.

With environment ministers now in Copenhagen with a clear mission: a deal to save the world from calamitous global warming; non-government organizations are demanding just the same, but in an often dramatic manner.

WWF activists, dressed as polar bears, staged a warning at the conference center on Monday to negotiators from more than 190 countries that time was running out for a deal. "Warning: 5 days to save humans," their placards read, referring to the conclusion of the conference on Friday.

Others were definitely more vocal. "We stand for Africa, Kyoto targets now," members of Friends of the Earth International shouted at the conference's dining area Monday, clapping and wearing blue raincoats. They used their lunchtime stunt to express support for African countries, which, angry with rich nations' lack of commitment and the slow progress of talks, briefly suspended the negotiations on Monday morning.

Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth International told reporters the climate group "supports the African position" on climate change and demanded "a strong outcome" from Copenhagen.

The United States' 4-percent pledge by 2020 compared with 1990 levels and the European Union's 20-percent goal have been criticized as being not enough.

African and small island nations are leading the call for rich nations to up their targets on emissions cuts and deliver on pledges of financial and technological support to help developing nations adapt to climate change.

The call for funding was partly answered last week with European Union leaders pledging 2.4 billion euros (3.5 billion U.S. dollars) annually from 2010 to 2012 to help developing countries tackle global warming.

Developing nations still view the pledge as a far cry from their needs. Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of Group of 77 and China, a group of developing countries, described it as "insignificant."

Source: Xinhua
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