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Hopenhagen or Flopenhagen?

December 8, 2009

Mohamed Maumoon (youth delegate from the Maldives), David Blood (Senior Partner, Gineration Investment Management), Jose Figueres (former President of Costa Rica), Lars Rasmussen (Prime Minister of Denmark), Katherine Richardson (Vice Dean, University of Copenhagen), Wang Guangtao (Chairman, Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee, National People's Congress, China), Kumi Naidoo (Executive Director, Greenpeace International)

In a discussion session on the first day of COP15, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen concedes that he is not optimistic that the next 11 days can produce a legally-binding treaty.

Mr. Rasmussen was speaking at a panel discussion chaired by Jose Maria Figueres, the former President of Costa Rica, who managed to sustain high levels of economic growth in his country despite the implementation of a carbon tax in 1999.

During the session, Prime Minister Rasmussen was consistently reminded by the other speakers to push for a better deal at COP15.

Katherine Richardson, the vice dean of the University of Copenhagen, spoke with careful optimism, claiming that technology is available but “we’re only missing the political and social will to implement bold measures”. Kumi Naidoo, the new executive director of Greenpeace International, urged for the achievement of a “fair, ambitious, and binding deal”, and further appealed for negotiators to not settle for the lowest denominator in climate discussions.

Determined to make his voice heard, Mohamed Maumoon, a feisty teenager from the Maldives, asked for special permission to be excused from his panel seat to speak at the lectern. Already, chunks of the Maldives’ coastline are being submerged by rising sea water levels every day, yet majority of world leaders remain dangerously unaware of this. He challenged political and business leaders of the world who live in cities which are sheltered from the direct consequences of climate change to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on his homeland, to a standing ovation.

The session was concluded by Wanagri Maathai, the Nobel Peace Laureate in 2004 for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”. Professor Maathai urged for civil society leaders to not give up, and to continue to pressurize governments to implement pro-environmental pleasures.

Will Prime Minister Rasmussen listen to the wise words of an academic, an environmental activist, a youth delegate who has experienced climate change and a Nobel Peace Laureate?

Whatever that took place in this conference room in Copenhagen is but a battle in our war against climate change.

Live from COP15

Hu Ching

Eco Singapore

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2009 2:31 am

    Thank you for posting about this event. Attended a seminar the same day at the University of Copenhagen and Katherine Richardson spoke about the youth delegate from Maldives speech, I was extremely touched. It brought a more closer feeling. Do you have more info regarding his speech or where I can find it online? Thank you so much for the updates, will be keeping up with your posts. 🙂

  2. huching permalink
    December 9, 2009 11:27 pm

    hey linda, glad that you attended the seminar at Uni Copenhagen! unfortunately there isnt any information regarding his speech online, but I was there when he gave his speech… he said that he can see houses and land of the Maldives being flooded by sea water everyday, and he strongly urged the political leaders to agree to a deal without delay.

    For more information on the Maldives, you might want to check out http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/07/eveningnews/main5924789.shtml?tag=contentBody;featuredPost-PE

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