As we huddle around laptops or cluster in front of projecters in the NGO space here in Copenhagen to listen for Obama’s address, I wanted to share an editorial written by’s Aaron Packard, a dynamite organizer from New Zealand. This appeared in the Dominion Post in Wellington:


Pressure Rises As Youth Voice Restricted

Things are boiling over here in Copenhagen at the international climate negotiations. It’s hard to imagine a more complicated, tense or consequential meeting. Over the last week and a half we’ve been working with some of the most vulnerable nations to make their voice heard as they call for the target of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be included in the Copenhagen text. On Wednesday we got confirmation in a speech by Grenadian President H.E. Tilman Thomas that over 100 developing countries, now support the call for 350ppm and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise. "We must act now, because if we do not, history will not absolve us…" said President Thomas in a powerful speech on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States. For small island states, getting back to 350 is a matter of survival, and they need it to happen as fast as possible.


Despite this groundswell of support for the 350 target, it’s not looking good. Negotiators have been working through the night to try to come to some agreement on a text, but rich nations remain a long way off from taking on the emissions cuts necessary to ensure the survival of the most vulnerable. The latest Climate Interactive forecast, which calculates the cumulative result of all the proposals currently on the table, showed that the current commitments will lead us to 770ppm. founder Bill McKibben commented that "if that’s not literally hell, it will have a similar temperature."


Rich countries are starting to lay on the underhand tactics by buying support for a weaker deal. On Tuesday, Ethiopia, who leads the African bloc, received calls from United States President Obama and French President Sarkozy, and subsequently broke distinctly from the African position, which until then had been very strong and united. The pressure resulted in Ethiopia proposing text that supported a 2 degree target that is more palatable to rich nations. It has however split Africa, which had until then, like never before been united in their call for a 1.5 degree target and 350ppm. McKibben warned that “the ugly and overt pressure on developing countries to sign an agreement that will put their very survival in jeopardy has begun.”


With 115 of the world’s leaders converging on the Bella centre on Thursday and Friday, the pressure to come out with a deal is immense. Wednesday’s clashes between demonstrators and police outside the Bella centre, has further upped the ante. Civil society is practically shut out of the Bella Centre, as security goes into lock-down. The UN secretariat has made things confusing for NGOs. Decisions have been last-minute, without full planning, and sometimes contradictory. On Thursday the 2000 youth participants was limited to 120 and on Friday this number has dwindled again. While our direct participation in the conference is now limited, we continue with our efforts outside of the conference and keep pushing for an agreement that meets the science and will return us to 350ppm. On Thursday, thousands of people around the world joined us in a day of global fasting, to show that we continue to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable countries that face such an uncertain future.


Despite the somewhat grim outlook, I still have hope. I have hope because I have seen and met so many incredibly diverse and inspirational young people. Coming from just about any country imaginable, a new way of working is emerging. It is a way of working that goes beyond national boundaries and interests. It is built on the premise that we are all connected to each other on this planet. Whether I am talking to my friend from Burundi, Malaysia or Mexico, there is a common understanding that each of us matter, and that we are equal partners on the planet. It’s on this philosophy that the biggest day of political action the world has seen was built.


Earlier in the year, on October coordinated more than 5000 actions in 181 countries. Those actions gave voice to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and it is becoming increasingly obvious as each day passes here in Copenhagen that the movement must continue and find new ways to shape an inspiring and climate safe future. The only question that I’m left with is, will we be too late?




For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram