Clashes and chaos – is Denmark trying to ape us folks?

Clashes between police in riot gear and activists, tear gas shells, a metro station closed down temporarily …  Whatever else, I did not expect the Copenhagen climate summit to enact a typically noisy Indian agitation. Though instead of pot-bellied, baton-wielding Indian cops, we have hulky, pepper-spraying Danish ones.

Today, Bella Centre was the scene of clashes between activists seeking climate justice and police trying to prevent them from storming the conference.

A sharp rift continues between developed and developing countries on issues of long-term finance for mitigation and adaptation, and the amount of funds available to poor countries.

The acrimony is growing. The African group is angry, the association of small island states is aghast delegates are wrangling over money when lives are at stake, and the major developing economies (Brazil, China, India and South Africa) have upped their ante.

The BASICs are angry over what they describe as attempts by host country Denmark to impose yet another draft text that they had not been consulted about, and attempts to dump the Kyoto Protocol.

The optimists say the dust will settle before the final hour. Denmark’s climate and energy minister Connie Heddegaard says the countries are like children avoiding their homework, doing it only at the nth hour because they have run out of time and have to submit it.

But a climate crisis is no child’s game.

T V Padma, South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net

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