We’ve arrived in Copenhagen CO2-neutral style
Step 1 complete; the Save the Children team is in Copenhagen. I arrived this morning on the night train from Cologne, the third leg of a trans-continental, polyglot rail adventure (trains are the future. OK, a slightly 19th Century vision of the future, and definitely slower than planes, but civilised, sociable and entertaining in a way that flying hasn’t been since the demise of the bi-plane).
We’re here to lobby and cajole the negotiators for a serious, binding and fair deal to tackle climate change.
The final agreement needs to set targets for slashing emissions, but also, vitally, for providing support to the poorest countries and the poorest children – children who are already facing the impacts of climate change right now.
I’m struggling to imagine what the boys and girls I worked with this year in the mudflats of Bengal would make of the huge Bella Centre where the talks are taking place. It’s like a series of hangars, connected by chilly carpeted walkways and thronging with delegates and observers from all around the world.
Between us, and even accounting for the locals and the large number of us who haven’t flown, we’ve clearly racked up a huge carbon footprint in getting ourselves here. It better be worth it.
I spent this afternoon with the EU delegation. There’s a whole stack of issues we need them to provide clarity on.
For starters, there’s the knotty question of whether funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation will be additional to commitments on overseas development aid. If it isn’t, then in effect we’d have nothing new, just a reshuffling of existing budgets. That’s not going to fix the problem whichever way you look at it.
My Norwegian colleagues have been making the case for getting children included in the final agreement.
Children are not some special interest group – they are half the population and they’re the ones who are going to live with, and have to deal with, the reality of a changing climate (children and trains are the future; you heard it here first).
What’s more, children are powerful agents for change. In our work across the world, it’s children who most effectively communicate ideas about disaster risk reduction, who teach and persuade their families about health, sanitation and safety. These are issues that will get more and more critical in the coming decades.
Those Bengali kids know this; now we just need to persuade the politicians.