Waiting for a Miracle
By Bob Baugh
December 18, 2009 - 1:58pm ET
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It has been a long tough day filled with rumors in Copenhagen. President Lula of Brazil gave an inspirational speech that potentially broke new ground on the transparency issues while offering to forgo receiving funds from the financing mechanism and offering instead to contribute. He said he was hoping for a miracle. Lula was followed by President Obama.
In a short speech the President told the plenary that the U.S. was committed to acting and would do so because, "We are convinced that changing the way we produce and use energy will create millions of new jobs and power new industries." He then laid out the pieces of an Accord:
- Mitigation - decisive national actions to cut emissions, including in the range of 17% from America by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
- Transparency in the actions of developing nations to develop low emission pathways for the future.
- Financing for adaptation and technology transfer, with the US committing to both the short-term finance to 2012 and to the $100bn annually (all nations) for the South by 2020.
The President’s comments on transparency were very similar to Lula’s a few minutes earlier. He clearly communicated the desire to reach an agreement but said “time is running out” and just passing a declaration without action would not suffice. It was a difficult and less inspirational message than the one President Lula gave but it reflected the critical issues on the table.
The seriousness, vision and diplomacy of Lula’s and Obama’s speeches contrasted starkly with an ugly insulting speech twenty minutes later by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He spent most of his time ridiculing the United States and hurling personal insults like “still smelling the sulpher fumes in the room”(from Obama) and repeatedly referring to him as the Nobel War prizewinner. Then he complained about being kept out of the room for private negotiations. He should listen to himself. Then he might figure out why he didn’t get invited.
If there is any good news in this cavern of disheartened people it is that there are private negotiations under way. President Obama is locked in room with 30 other leaders including Lula from Brazil, China, India, Great Britain, France, South Africa, Japan and others. He was supposed to have left earlier this afternoon but word is it won’t be flaps up as long as there is something to discuss. It is now 6 PM. Rumors circulate about how difficult China is being but the doors are locked and they keep talking.
Maybe President Lula will get the miracle he spoke of in the morning. The world is waiting.
And, so am I but I’ll have to see it on the news. Time to head home.
A grateful thank you to all our U.S. labor delegates and our brothers and sisters in the ITUC. Our fight for a just transition for a cleaner planet, quality jobs and decent work has just begun. Signing off from the Bella Center, Copenhagen …
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