Action and Patience in Copenhagen
As the temperature rises this morning in Copenhagen, pressure is also rising on COP15 delegates to move beyong the deadlock from Monday's walkout and inject some energy into the negotiations. But the mood is dour and while calls to action are coming from all angles, it seems that removing the all-important brackets from the text of the agreement will require concessions and cooperation that might not be reached, no matter how much Ed Miliband shouts.
Frustration extends far beyond the internal meetings. NGOs, activists and protestors, unable to access the Bella Centre negotation building, line the streets or set off on marches as snow and police helicopters swirl above them. Failure to accomodate civil society could prove to be a monumental embarrassment for the Danish host government - especially if plans to storm the centre go ahead today - but it not for want of trying. An ambitious 45,000 people were accredited with access to Bella Centre, which only has capacity for 15,000. Queuing to get in can take up to six hours.
Fear of disruptions and a desire to get thing done has meant that the organisers have been limiting access day on day; 7,000 people yesterday, down to 1,000 today, and finally just 90 as the negotiations come to a head on Friday.
Trying to let the whole world in is a worthy ambition, and as Richard Reeves has used JS Mill's harm principle to argue in his Bentham Lecture, we are all responsible for the climate damage we do to other people and other countries; it is understandable that everyone wants to be part of the solution. But time and tempers at Copenhagen are short; there is a lot of pressure, and very little information. While people both in and outside the negotiations are desperate for action, it seems that the best action right now might be patience.