Sister Joan Brown’s Reflections from Copenhagen, Part 17, 18

Dec 18, 2009 | Copenhagen

Find previous reflections from Sr. Joan Brown.
Find out more about the religious voice in Copenhagen.

Sister Joan Brown, OSF, Director of NM IPL

Sister Joan Brown, OSF, Director of NM IPL

Part 18

COP 15, December 18, 11 am

I am sitting at the Forum for NGO members waiting for the televised proceedings. Using still another borrowed computer whose text is very small and a keyboard geared toward French…so please forgive errors. I wanted to give you an update from the ECO news letter that comes out every day from NGO organizations and bits from folks around.

*It seems delegates and leaders worked through the night and there is hope that an agreement will be unveiled today. There is confidence that with so manz heads of state present that there will be an agreement. The strength of emissions reductions and financing for mitigation and adaptation are big questions.
*While the US has stated they will work with nations to come up with 100 billion dollars collectively to address climate change needs of developing countries, a fair, ambitious and binding agreement places the need at 195 billion dollars of public finance by 2020.
*Because mitigation targets seem to hover around 3 degree rise in temperature, adaptation is essential and more costlz than actions for adaptation. The existing text contains good and bad elements for adaptation:
Good=attention to most vulnerable people
Good=For the first time climate change induced migration is addressed
Good=Stronger language on support for regional centres and cooperation
Bad=No mention of historical responsibility which clearlz should guide the provision of financial support
Bad=Finance will likely fall short, especially if we are heading to 3 degree rise
Bad=Key industrialised countries diverting monez from promised development budgets into adaptation
Bad=Does not facilitate a paradign shift in attitude from seeing developing counbtries affected by climate change as entitled to support, rather than the needing waiting for aid handouts dependent on donor whims.
*Because of civil society organizing and sending some 50,000 post cards asking for an ambitious and nuclear free climate agreement, there may be hope for sustainable development….
*A leaked report from the UNFCCC secretariat which assesses the impact of the upper end of the emission reduction pledges on the table from all Parties warns that without strong additional action, “global emissions will peak later than 2020 and remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal or above 55ppm with the related temperature rise around 3 degrees C.

Let us pray, let us wait, let us hope for Blessings for Mother Earth.


Part 17

COP 15, Friday, December 18, 8 am, BME Day

Good morning! A brief note before heading off to the Forum Hall for NGO’s who can’t get into the Bella Center. I am calling today the BME Day or Blessings for Mother Earth Day. Amidst the political words, words, words, many of us have been and will continue to pray, fast and act for blessings for Mother Earth and all people and all species.

President Obama arrives today and traffic will be congested, it is very cold and more snow is expected. I am praying for a glimpse of sunlight to break through the Advent darkness awaiting the turn of the solstice. So many beautiful people of all races, languages and faiths have made a pilgrimage here from around 190 countries to say yes to life, even while certain powers of finance and politics are huddled beside them trying to keep the status quo named greed for a few rather than beauty and life for all.

Greed is one of the two G elephants in the room. It has been spoken of by the developing countries and by many NGO’s and human rights workers, but not in the polite circles for fear of offending. Throughout the city are various public art displays and photographs of the face of economic disparity and a system that is broken and destroying Mother Earth. I hope to see one of the art pieces this morning on my way to the Forum. In praying for transformation, light and healing I am praying for graciousness to envelope greed to transform our human hearts. Graciousness is the spirit of the wonderful Desmond Tutu who the other day said, we want to invite the others to join us on this the winning side, which is the side of life and love where there are no sides, but all is one.

Another elephant in the Bella Center has been gender. While again and again it is noted that women, who in the vast majority of the world are the farmers, the water bearers, the children care givers and food providers and the ones who are most vulnerable and adapt quickest to the changing planet– the gender gap is large. Before I left New Mexico, one of the NMIPL board members, who is male sent a photo of a 350 event where all were women. He continually asks where are the men, compared to large numbers of women in the movement. Then he noted that those making the decisions at high levels would be in suits and ties. So it is. Yesterday, one after another the heads of state addressing the assembly were men. Would the scenario look slightly different here if more women sat in some of these seats?

The other day I attended a session on Carbon Financing. All of the presenters worked in business and finance and all were men. Almost the entire room was filled with suits and ties. After each presentation, almost as an after fact it was stated that, if the environment was not helped by Carbon financing then it would have met its purpose. I know these are good people, people of various faith traditions, but it is so easy to become off balance when you are part of a system that is not working.

The system must change, not the climate.

We await anxiously here for a positive resolve for life this historic day in humanity’s life span. Until later.

Peace and good,

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