My Week: Gopal Dayaneni

A climate campaigner marches in the streets of Copenhagen – and fears that the message is not getting through to the developed world's leaders
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The Independent Online


I've been in Copenhagen since Saturday with the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project and we are here with a delegation of grass-roots organisers from climate-impacted communities throughout the United States.

We have a huge amount at stake in terms of the nature of the negotiations and the policies that are being put forward as well as an interest in amplifying the voices of those communities in the climate justice movement. We're demanding rapid steep reductions in emissions from the industrial countries without offsets and to support climate debt so there's a transparent funding mechanism that's not trade based. We are in the Bella Center today meeting other groups from the US to demand real targets, funding and rights. We also attend an incredible demonstration by the Indigenous Environmental Network against the tar sands development in Alberta, Canada.


They begin restricting access to the Bella Center today. We spend our time outside meeting different social movements. We host a gathering of groups from the south and north to talk about our shared struggles. We work on developing interventions around the arrival of Obama and the US position.


We march in the streets to reclaim power and support the actions of delegates on the inside who are being shut out of the process. We share stories of resistance and discuss solutions. It's an incredible day. It is a disruption of the false solutions being promoted inside the Center. Talks begin to collapse inside. While there is some violence in the streets from police, for us, the real violence is happening inside and the decisions they are trying to force through.


The Bella Center is severely restricted today and virtually impossible to communicate our concerns to our country delegates or support the country delegates of the Association of Small Island States and the Indigenous Peoples Caucus. We organise a demo at noon at the US embassy to deliver a strongly worded letter to Obama to protest the US government for failing to act. Hillary Clinton announces the paltry $100bn fund that is with so many strings attached, such weak targets and which basically says "it's our way or the highway". I address a crowd of about 1,000 people who were fasting for climate justice.


We gather for a meeting with folks from the US and plan how we will bring the climate justice message to the US social forum next summer in Detroit. We've been able to move significantly some of the key issues. We've been able to support people from around the world who are experiencing the reality of climate impact and to hear the stories from Bangladesh, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa. It's been eye opening.