Stealing The Spotlight

Posted on behalf of Abbie Gruwell, a political science major at the University of Iowa: If you pay attention to the major news sources, the compelling stories out of Copenhagen today would appear to be the massive demonstrations and angry NGO's. Today the Danish police reached for new tactics to hold back the protesters outside the Bella Centre, not stopping short of tear gas and baton beatings. Of course, these are the images that hit CNN and the voices that allegedly represented world youth. For those of us actually focused on the task at hand, the real story was a painful waiting game and much needed movement toward higher level negotiations. After talks resumed this afternoon, very little information came out of the deliberations. It seemed that delegates and U.N. officials alike were finally getting down to business, even forgoing press-filled speeches to actually do work. Maybe if our leaders had felt this kind of desperation a week and a half ago we would have an ambitious, binding framework. One of the most exciting parts of the afternoon were the speeches by the Heads of State, such as Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Ian Fry of Tuvalu, and other high profile leaders. Many were passionately in support of the G77 and China position for more intensive negotiations and a two-track plan. Tomorrow Ahmadinejad and Manmohan Singh promise to make it an exciting day. One success that is predicted to come out of this week is the REDD document. The agreement aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and has been one of the only discussions that bore any fruit. Although there are still a few things to work out, it seems the most optimistic section of the comprehensive bill. There were several issues of contention about the REDD policy, most notably the rights of indigenous peoples. Amazingly, the final draft was presented today and REDD is predicted by the Environmental Defense Fund to be the most concrete thing that comes out of Copenhagen. At least there is something we can agree on.

Author: Jerry Schnoor

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  1. I don’t know how you can mention Chavez and Ahmadinejad without batting an eye. (And indeed, the fact that Chavez got deafening applause for attacking capitalism just convinces me all the more that Copenhagen isn’t really about climate, it’s about power and money.)

    Have we forgotten the protests in Iran so quickly? How about Iran’s very obvious nuclear weapon ambitions and threats to Israel? Do we care about Chavez’s attacks on freedom of expression in Venezuela and his ties to the terrible terrorist group FARC in Columbia? I don’t wan’t any of my money headed to these governments, I don’t care whether it happens in the name of carbon dioxide, or any other name. Will we subsidize attacks on freedom and life? The very presence of people like this makes the event into a farce.

  2. She can mention Chavez and Ahmadinejad without batting an eye because, regardless of the views of the American Zionist right (yes, I said it), these are important leaders. They are allowed to have their own viewpoints (ever heard of freedom of speech? Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist in some places, like on Fox News). If one actually listens to what they have to say rather than what the media chooses to play up, one may find that the international debate is not as straightforward as one may tend to believe. This isn’t a one-sided issue. Everyone has to agree AND every country has to follow the rules in order for an agreement like this to work. Thus, regardless of whether we like certain leaders, we still have to persuade them to join this cause. Unless, of course, one honestly believes that global warming isn’t a threat; that capitalist (read: “free and democratic”) countries should divvy up the spoils that can be had in developing nations without consequence; and that any UN agreement actually has an effect on whether American money is going to Iran, Colombia, Venezuela, or anywhere else. The fact of the matter is that as long as the USA is a superpower, American money will flow everywhere, even where Americans don’t want to see it go.
    I’d like to see them try to go ahead with this agreement without those governments. What message would the West send to the Rest like that? Do what we say, or else.

  3. Congratulations A. “You said it ”

    You took an insightful comment by David and made yourself sound like an anti-semite first, and a delusional ideologue second.

    Who in god’s good earth are the “American Zionists” and what do they have to do with comment above?

    Did you decide to reference these “Zionist” because the first poster’s name was “David?” Why? Because Jews/Zionists are capitalists? Your comment reeks of implied anti-semitism. Well done!

    Also, I think David’s point is that people like CHAVEZ and AHMADENIJAD have abysmal records on free speech (understatement) and therefore it is important that we acknowledge their horrific records and NOT laud their inflammatory rhetoric at international conferences. His point is that it diminishes the very stature of said conferences.

    All I can wish for people like you is that you move to live in places like Venezuela and Iran where you can enjoy your perverse concept of free speech while living under brutal dictators.

  4. Both David and O are full of it. Calling Chavez a “brutal dictator” is the biggest load of crap ever. He shut down media in Venezuela that our own U.S. government would have had a heck of a time standing…. I’d say the Venezuelan media is extremely free and attacks Chavez constantly, rarely with justification. It is simply WAY WAY over the line to in any way call Chavez a dictator.
    Iran is another story altogether….